Wayland cutting ribbon on Jimmy Dean Museum

September 23, 2016

Wayland Baptist University will celebrate the grand opening of the Jimmy Dean Museum with a ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28. The public is invited to attend the ceremony and tour the museum memorializing the late sausage mogul and entertainer who was raised in Plainview.

Funded with a $5 million gift from the Jimmy Dean Foundation and Jimmy’s widow, Donna Dean Stevens, the Jimmy Dean Museum is an addition to Wayland’s existing Museum of the Llano Estacado. Stevens, who was married to Jimmy Dean from 1991 until his death in 2010, will be introduced and given the opportunity to speak in Wayland’s chapel service at 11 a.m. She will then participate in the ribbon cutting.

The Jimmy Dean Museum is approximately 7,500 square feet and contains 25 display cases, three large wall panels, and four multi-media displays that depict the life and times of Jimmy Dean from growing up in the Seth Ward addition of Plainview, through his entertainment career and career in the sausage business. The museum also has a 25-seat theater where visitors can watch “Breakfast and a Song: The Jimmy Dean Story.”

Patrons may also stop by Ruth’s Place to pick up novelty gifts, t-shirts and a copy of Dean’s autobiography, “30 Years of Sausage, 50 Years of Ham.” The gift shop is named in memory of Dean’s mother Ruth Taylor Dean.

Jimmy Dean was born Aug. 10, 1928, in Olton, then moved with his family to Plainview as a child. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Dean was known for the country cross-over hit “Big Bad John” as well as his acting and television appearances that included hosting the “Jimmy Dean Show” and a guest starring role as Willard Whyte in the 1971 James Bond movie “Diamonds are Forever.” He was also the creator of the Jimmy Dean Sausage brand that he started in Plainview.

Jimmy and Donna donated $1 million to Wayland in 2008, the largest individual cash gift ever given to the university. Dean died on June 13, 2010, at the age of 81.

Following Wednesday’s ribbon cutting, the museum will be open during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from April to November.