NEW ALBANY, Miss. (WTVA) - You will find a wealth of knowledge inside the Union County Heritage Museum, which is rich with the county's history.
A timeline begins with fossils found in the area when Mississippi was actually under water.
The timeline includes pioneer days and important moments from the present day.
Jill Smith serves as the museum director.
"If we don't tell our stories, who will?" Smith said.
Smith has been collecting artifacts and stories to help bring Union County's history to life for nearly two decades.
A personal favorite is the creation of barbecue.
"You won't find any pig fossils in North America until Hernando De Soto brought them in the 1540's," Smith said.
"The Spanish ate with them and called it barbacoa, so I take it as barbecue was invented here."
The Union County Heritage Museum also houses an impressive collection of literary works by William Faulkner.
The library holds Faulkner's first editions and about 800 volumes of literary criticisms related to his work.
"William Faulkner was born here in 1897, so we are a big part of his postage stamp of native soil from where his stories germinated," Smith said.
And speaking of native soil, the William Faulkner Literary Gardens is behind the Union County Heritage Museum.
The breathtaking garden is actually a partnership between the New Albany Garden Club and the museum.
"You read his books and it may not be the first thing you recognize, but if you pull that thread out of the prose, it's important how he sets the scene and tells his stories," Smith said.
The garden proudly showcases flowers, plants and trees featured in Faulkner's literary works.
"If you have read 'The Unvanquished', one of the most oft-quoted pieces is about an odor greater than the smell of horses. Well, you can come to the William Faulkner literary gardens and smell that odor," Smith added.
Meanwhile, Smith says they are still working at collecting each piece of vegetation.