Wayland sets ground breaking for Jimmy Dean Museum

May 23, 2014

Dean Museum Plans

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University and the Museum of the Llano Estacado will hold a ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday, June 24 at 2 p.m., signaling the start of construction on the Jimmy Dean Museum addition.

Donna Dean Stevens will be in attendance for the special event and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The approximately $5 million project has been in the plans for a couple of years, with Lavin Architects in Amarillo designing the building. The museum will house memorabilia from Jimmy Dean’s personal collection. The museum will depict Jimmy’s life from its humble beginnings in Seth Ward, on the northeast side of Plainview, to his rise to fame as an entertainer and his success as a businessman.

The Deans donated $1 million to Wayland in 2008, the largest cash gift in Wayland’s history. After his death in 2010, Donna, who lives in Varina, Va., made plans to build a museum in his honor. She eventually decided to place it in Jimmy’s hometown of Plainview.

“We are so excited to break ground on this project,” said Rodney Watson, director of the museum. “This will be a fitting memorial for Jimmy and a great attraction to the community.”

Dean Museum Front View

Watson said that along with personal memorabilia, the museum will contain audio visual elements that will enable patrons to view and listen to Jimmy in his roles as singer, entertainer, actor and sausage pitch man.

Dean’s personal collection of memorabilia is currently in storage, awaiting the completion of construction on the project. A bronze statue of Jimmy Dean will welcome visitors to the museum. The bronze was sculpted by Paul DiPasquale and furnished by Hillshire Brands, the parent company of Jimmy Dean Sausage.

The sculpture is scheduled to arrive in Plainview next week and will be housed in Jimmy Dean Hall until completion of the museum addition. A reception and public viewing of the bronze will be held in Jimmy Dean Hall immediately following the ground breaking. The Jimmy Dean Museum is scheduled to be completed in time to celebrate its grand opening on Jimmy’s birthday in August of 2015.