Over 4,000 troops stand ready in Shiloh, but not how you might think.
At the intersection of highway 22 and highway 142 there is a small building with a sign that reads Shiloh Tours. Inside there is a man with 100 stories and over 4,000 tiny lead figures that have been handmade and painted to represent scenes from iconic moments throughout world history.
These figures were entrusted to Larry DeBerry to protect and display in his museum. The 2 ½” figurines were made and painted by Bud Davis. “He was chancellor of LSU for 17 years” DeBerry said. Davis made the figures over his lifetime.
Kevin Getchell, a friend to both Davis and DeBerry, told Davis about the museum in Shiloh. As Grimes was preparing to enter assisted living, he asked Getchell to get in touch with DeBerry about taking the figurines and placing them in his museum. One U-Haul and 1,100 miles later the figures were in their new home.
One set of figures is comprised of a line of elephants. One of the elephants has a figure riding in a howdah and waving. “This is the representation of Queen Elizabeth visiting India in 1961,” said DeBerry. India had become independent from British rule in 1947, however they loved the queen and threw a massive celebration in honor of her visit.
In the center of the entire display is a depiction of the storming of the beaches of Normandy. Above is an actual 1944 Parachute from WWII covering the ceiling.
A survivor of Iwo Jima once visited the museum. About a month after the visit a UPS truck arrived with a package. The visitor had made a statue of Iwo Jima and covered it in stone he had collected on a return visit. This statue is prominently placed in the center of the display.
From Napoleon at Waterloo to “Desert Storm” almost every major conflict seems to be represented in some way throughout the museum.
Cases filled with artifacts from the Civil War line the walls of the building. Mannequins dressed in period clothes from different conflicts throughout America’s history stand silent telling their own stories.
DeBerry is the owner of this establishment and an incredible storyteller. He speaks passionately about every item as he walks along and picks them up one by one. “Y’all come in and make yourselves at home” DeBerry says as a young couple enters the establishment.
Chris O’Donnell and Louise Sanchez of Massachusetts came into the building and walked around in amazement. They were on a trip, avoiding major cities due to Covid-19 and enjoying the history of the southeastern United States.
DeBerry said “I don’t know about you guys but there are still ghosts at Shiloh.” He begins to spin a tale of ghosts on the battlefield, and he goes to the counter to fetch “evidence” of their existence. “I’ve walked this battlefield at night, and I’ve picked up a few things. Here’s proof right here.” said DeBerry. He hands Sanchez a bag of cotton balls labeled “Ghost Poop”. “Now you have proof.” said DeBerry as everyone had a good laugh.
You can contact DeBerry at 731-926-0360 for more details on tours. The hours for the museum are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The off season runs from November to February and the $5 admission to the museum is not enforced, however donations are appreciated.