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NTA Selects Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art as Recipient of Tourism Cares Gulf Coast Restoration Fund Grant

November 21, 2006

NTA Selects Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art as Recipient of Tourism Cares Gulf Coast Restoration Fund Grant
Nov. 21, 2006 – The National Tour Association Board of Directors has selected the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi, as the recipient of the funds NTA members raised for Tourism Cares Gulf Coast Restoration Fund.


Funds totaling $4,320 were raised during a luncheon at the 2005 NTA Annual Convention in Detroit. At that time, the NTA Board determined that the money should be allocated to a special project to help restore tourism in the U.S. Gulf Coast.


"NTA’s generous members and its official philanthropy, Tourism Cares, are committed to restoring the cultural and historic treasures along the Gulf Coast," said NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian. "The awarding of this grant is just one of the many ways that the NTA community has supported its colleagues on the Gulf Coast. Tourism is vital to the economy of the Gulf Coast, and we hope this contribution to the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum will help tourism continue to rebound in the area."


The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, presents new ideas about the diverse and rich cultural heritage of the Gulf Coast region and beyond. It does so through compelling exhibits and interactive educational experiences for people of all ages and socio-economic levels, inspired by the unique and innovative expression of George Ohr, Pleasant Reed and Frank Gehry.


Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the new museum was under construction and scheduled to open July 2006 before Hurricane Katrina hit. It was previously housed in a small library. Among the devastation caused by Katrina, 10 of the 26 oak trees on the museum’s property were lost. The grant funding will go towards completing the raised terrace of the new museum campus to allow the ancient oak trees to breathe and prosper. The museum expects more than 150,000 visitors during its first full year of operation.


"The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art would not be proceeding today without the generous help of grants from around the country. The support of NTA is so meaningful," said Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art Executive Director Marjie Gowdy. "Our museum has hosted so many great tours throughout the years and is grateful to the ongoing support of the travel and tourism industry. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!"


The National Tour Association has a global membership of tourism professionals involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes more than 600 tour operator companies – group, independent, inbound and outbound – and the destinations and suppliers that partner with them. The association is committed to providing business results and information to its members, while offering a collaborative, caring environment in which to build relationships. For more information, please visit


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