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From left, long-time museum volunteers Pat and Charlotte Davis, Historic DeSoto Foundation board member Keith Hawkins, former DeSoto Times editor/publisher Bill Bailey, DeSoto County Museum curator Robert Long, former DeSoto Times Today editor/publisher Tom Pittman, and museum assistant to the curator Brooke Farley stand in front of a mural displaying the history of newspapers in DeSoto County. Part of the room will be where the Pittman Family Archive of past newspaper issues are housed inside the county museum.  

The entire existing newspaper archive of the DeSoto Times-Tribune, the community's 180-year-old newspaper, is now open to the public and housed in the DeSoto County Museum in Hernando.

The Pittman Family Archive opened this past week in the Founders Room of the museum, located at 111 E. Commerce St. in Hernando.

"It's rare for a small museum to have an entire archive of a community newspaper, let alone one that has existed for more than 180 years," said Robert Lee Long, Curator of the DeSoto County Museum. "On behalf of the Historic DeSoto Foundation and the DeSoto County Museum we are grateful to the Pittman family for making this treasure trove of history available to the reading public.

"We feel it will prove to be an extremely valuable research tool for historians and genealogists alike, and one that will enable future generations to discover and learn from this community's rich and precious past," Long said.

Tom Pittman, the former editor and publisher of the DeSoto Times Today, before the publication became known as the DeSoto Times-Tribune, said the museum was a natural place to house the community's official chronicle of recorded history.

"These books of actual newspapers provide real-time glimpses into the history of DeSoto County, our little section of America," Pittman said. "The facts they confirm—or deny—help us understand ourselves more fully. They reveal personal details like weddings as well as social movements like the civil rights era. We are pleased to make them accessible to the public and trust they will serve as a useful community resource for years to come."

The large mural now on display not only showcases images related to the history of the newspaper, Mississippi's second-oldest such publication, but never-before-seen photos of street scenes, businesses and shops, people, places and things related to DeSoto County's rich past.

Other items on display include the Polaroid camera that shot early photos of Elvis Presley and an 1880s press utilized by the DeSoto Times, and an antique letter press, sorter and paper cutter used by the DeSoto County Tribune in Olive Branch.

The DeSoto County Museum is located at 111 E. Commerce Street in Hernando and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.