Mary Lou Mauldin, director of the White Hall Museum, likes to think big. She is checking to determine which Pentagon office to call to request that the Air Force Thunderbirds fly over White Hall for the museum's November's Veterans Day ceremony.

Mary Lou Mauldin, director of the White Hall Museum, likes to think big. She is checking to determine which Pentagon office to call to request that the Air Force Thunderbirds fly over White Hall for the museum’s November’s Veterans Day ceremony.

In case the Air Force denies her request, she said she has sent word that Arkansas Air National Guard planes assigned to Fort Smith would be a suitable substitute.

“When you are 82, you like to have a little insurance,” she said with a chortle Monday.

Mauldin, who believes in volunteering, received the White Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Community Service Award in 2003 for her work with senior citizens. Earlier this month she received the chamber’s Senior Award.

She was named the museum’s director, a part-time post, effective Jan. 1, 2009. However, individuals familiar with the museum said she is often at the facility six days a week.

She joked that since she lives on Dollarway Road and the museum is at 9009 Dollarway, her pickup truck is programmed to drive north toward the museum whenever she puts the key in the ignition.

A community like White Hall depends on volunteers for many functions, Mauldin said, adding that she would like to see more seniors who have retired and have the time to help out in a number of areas.

“We could use them at the museum,” she added, to help establish a reading room for individuals interested in the

city’s history.

“We have plans for a video room with information about the White Hall area from old newspapers,” she said.

“Volunteers are needed in the schools to help in many ways,” Maudlin. “We have many families where both parents work and children are not around older family members because they have died or don’t live close.

“Let them have a rocking chair in a classroom and the older volunteers could serve as mentors or provide a kind word when it is needed.”

Volunteers could help a literacy program teach someone to read, or read to patients with vision handicaps in local nursing homes, she added.

She said she would like to have more time in the museum’s Military Room, the largest exhibit, which includes West Point uniforms, uniforms from past Pine Bluff Arsenal commanders, a uniform from the Army Air Corps World War II flying school at Grider Field at Pine Bluff and other military memorabilia.

“You never get too old to volunteer and make a contribution,” Mauldin emphasized.

The museum holds three open houses annually – Memorial Day, Veterans Day and before Christmas. The names of those killed and missing in action from the White Hall area are read during the Veterans Day ceremony, as a bell tolls with each name.

Several individuals said upon leaving the museum that they were impressed by the depth and number of exhibits. At least three said it was their first visit to the museum and its grounds, which includes a monument to veterans. “The open houses have an old fashion theme in keeping with the museum’s exhibits,” Mauldin said.

To draw attention to an open house, she may stage a small parade on the museum parking lot, offering skits and music before bringing out refreshments.

Mauldin has encouraged plans for the museum to play a major role during White Hall’s 50th anniversary in 2014 and is ready to get started on the preparations.