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University Museum unveils 2016 holiday keepsake ornament

By Christina Steube

University of Mississippi

For the 16th year, the University of Mississippi Museum is offering a new keepsake ornament for the holidays. This year’s design features the Ole Miss powder blue football helmet.

“As with our 2012 Walk of Champions gateway design, we celebrate the traditions of Ole Miss athletics and campus life in these ornaments, and we’re grateful to have such collegial partners in athletics as we develop these keepsakes,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

The team wore the color until 1977 and then again from 1983 to ‘94. The nostalgic color is often associated with the “golden age” of Ole Miss football, having been worn by notable players such as Billy Brewer, Jake Gibbs and Archie Manning.

In 2014, the university renamed Coliseum Drive in honor of Chucky Mullins. In addition to this commemoration, the powder blue helmet, which Mullins wore, saw its second revival on the field.

“The powder blue helmet has a long history with the Ole Miss Rebels football,” said Melanie Munns, the museum’s antiquities collections manager. “While the University of Mississippi chose Yale’s navy and Harvard’s crimson as its official colors, the powder blue has become a signature color of the team.

“Legend attributes the first iteration in 1948 as an accident in production, which Coach Johnny Vaught chose to embrace.”

The Ole Miss Powder Blue Helmet commemorative ornament is available for $25, plus tax.

Collectible ornaments from previous years include the Old Skipwith House, Brandt Memory House, Ventress Hall, Lafayette County Courthouse, Oxford City Hall, the Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Jersey, Theora Hamblett House, Theora Hamblett’s “Christmas Trees,” Walk of Champions, Oxford’s Double Decker Bus and the Herakles Neck Amphora.

These ornaments retail for $20, plus tax.

The keepsake ornaments can be purchased in the Museum Shop or by phone with a credit card by calling 662-915-7073.

Orders must be placed by Dec. 14 if needed by the holiday and require a $7 shipping and handling fee.

Museum members and Friends of the Museum receive a 10 percent discount on all merchandise in the museum store.

The University Museum is at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Holiday Hours for the Museum Shop are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

For information about events and exhibits, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7073.