History comes alive at JDCC
Many people may not know, but there is an excellent museum within a stone’s throw of downtown.
It is located on the grounds of Jefferson Davis Community College in the fine arts building.
A new coordinator has recently been appointed by the college to manage and maintain, not only the museum, but also the Escambia County Historical Society’s collection of books and artifacts.
Don Sales is the new coordinator and he is making plans to make the collections larger and more accessible to the public. In the past they were open for only two days a week, but Sales is adding another.
The collections new days of operation are now Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The museum has local artifacts from the ice age through the mid-twentieth century and Sales said that he welcomes any contributions that will promote the area’s past.
“Since the first of July, I have been cataloging and working on cleaning and displaying more items in the museum,” Sales said. “I want to make it more accessible to the public. I hopeI there will be people who would like to volunteer to help with the job of cataloging and maintaining what we already have.”
Sales has lots of good ideas he hopes to be able to put into action. The biggest thing he has going is his genuine love of history and the desire to share it with others.
“We, of course, want to interest the public in what we have out here and hopefully they will want to contribute, not only time and funds, but also to donate artifacts,” Sales said. “I am going to go around to the schools to see if I can raise interest in the young people. I will also be available to speak to clubs and organizations,”
Sales comes to his new position with plenty of experience.
He is the president of the Florida Panhandle Historical Preservation Alliance, a position he has held for the past four years. He has been involved with the Alger-Sullivan Historical Society for several years.
He was born in South Flomaton (now Century, Fla.) and graduated from Century High School in 1962.
“I loved all kinds of sports back then,” Sales said, “but I also had a great love of history and science. I come from a family of five. My mother ran a small store and my dad was a U.S. Navy diver. We had to help my mother with the store, where we sold, among other things, eggs that came from our own chickens.”
After high school, Sales attended Pensacola Junior College and worked at Chemstrand. One day he got a call from his brother, who told him he was opening a car dealership in Monroeville.
He wanted Sales to come to work with him, so in 1965 he joined the staff of Sales Ford and worked there until he retired.
“After retirement, I decided to do what I really loved to do,” Sales said. “My daddy taught me to love history. I worked on a committee to bring back the last steam train engine that had run at Alger-Sullivan. It was about to be junked and we wanted to save it.”
He went on to serve as vice president and acting president of the Alger-Sullivan Historical Society.
Now he is a member of the Escambia County Historical Society and he lives in Century with his wife, Brenda.
They have two daughters and four grandchildren.