MDAH News

MDAH 2021 Holiday Closures for November, December

Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) sites will be closed at times during the holiday season. In observance of Thanksgiving in Jackson, the archives library will be closed Thursday, November 25–Saturday, November 27, and the Two Mississippi Museums and Eudora Welty House & Garden will be closed Thursday, November 25. In Natchez the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians will also be closed Thursday, November 25.  

In observance of Christmas the archives library will be closed Thursday, December 23–Saturday, December 25. The Two Mississippi Museums, Eudora Welty House & Garden and Grand Village of the Natchez Indians will close early at 3 p.m. on Friday, December 24 and be closed on Saturday, December 25. 

In observance of New Year’s Day the archives library will be closed Friday, December 31–Saturday, January 1. The Two Mississippi Museums, Eudora Welty House & Garden, and Grand Village of the Natchez Indians will close early at 3 p.m. on Friday, December 31, and be closed on Saturday, January 1. 

Visit www.mdah.ms.gov/explore-mississippi for more information about each site.

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Holiday Open House at the Mississippi Museum Store

On Saturday, November 20, join us for the Holiday Open House at the Mississippi Museum Store. The come-and-go event is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy samples from Mississippi vendors, special sale prices on select merchandise, artist and maker meet-and-greet opportunities, and additional discounts for museum members.

Nick Wallace Culinary will provide tasty food samplings, and other local vendors will also offer delicious treats.

The event includes book signings, custom hand-written invitations and ornaments, complimentary gift packaging, and a 10 percent discount on all merchandise. Museum members will receive a 20 percent discount on store items. Become a museum member online at give2mississippimuseums.com or purchase a membership during the event.

The Mississippi Museum Store offers one of the state’s finest collections of folk art, local handmade crafts, and books by and about Mississippians. Find unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list this year at the Mississippi Museum Store while visiting with local artists and makers. Shop artisan-made items for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Highlighted merchandise includes Walter Anderson prints, Wolfe Studio birds, Harold Miller sculptures, and Shearwater Pottery. Other Mississippi-made products featured in the store are candles, jewelry, gourmet products, museum souvenirs, newly-designed Mississippi state flag merchandise, and much more.

The Mississippi Museum Store at the Two Mississippi Museums is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The museums open free of charge on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. Call 601-576-6921 or email store@mdah.ms.gov for more information.

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Christmas by Candlelight Tour Returns December 3 in Partnership with Capital City Lights, MDAH Partners with City of Jackson for Bicentennial

On Friday, December 3, enjoy free live music, holiday decorations, and treats during the 2021 Christmas by Candlelight Tour. In addition to the traditional features of the tour—shuttle buses, model train exhibit—this year's event will coincide with the City of Jackson's Capital City Lights, the kickoff event of the city's year-long bicentennial celebration. 

The Mississippi State Capitol and four MDAH sites will be open and sporting holiday decorations: the Mississippi Governor's Mansion, the grounds of the Old Capitol Museum, Museum of Mississippi History, and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. 

Park and take advantage of the shuttle buses running between sites, walk or drive and come and go on your own schedule. The Candlelight tour takes place from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Capital City Lights will continue with additional activities, including shopping at two outdoor markets, Magnolia Marketplace and JXN Flea, classic cars, emergency vehicles set up in touch-a-truck style, live music, hot chocolate, caroling, marching bands, holiday décor, and of course…LIGHTS! 

Governor Tate Reeves and First Lady Elee Reeves will welcome visitors to the Mississippi Governor's Mansion, along with Santa. The model town of Possum Ridge and its trains will be displayed on the second floor of the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—and the Mississippi Museum Store will be open. The museums will also feature a sixteen-foot Christmas tree. The Old Capitol Museum will be decorated and lit, and choirs will perform on the grounds. A jazz ensemble will perform at the Mississippi State Capitol, which will be decorated and open for tours. 

On November 28, 1821, the Mississippi Legislature designated LeFleur's Bluff as the site of the state capitol. Jackson's first map was completed in April 1822 and consisted of the areas between High and South Streets and between Jefferson and West Streets. 

The legislature incorporated the town and named Jackson the county seat of Hinds County in 1822. The Mississippi Legislature first met in Jackson on December 23, 1822 in a nonextant structure. In 1839, legislators began convening in a newly-built statehouse, which now serves as the Old Capitol Museum. The current Mississippi State Capitol was completed in 1903.

The Capital City Lights planning committee consists of members of City of Jackson, MDAH, GJAC, Visit Jackson, Downtown Jackson Partners, local hoteliers, retailers and residents.  

For more information about the Christmas by Candlelight Tour, call 601-576-6850 or email info@mdah.ms.gov. For more information about Capital City Lights, email J. David Lewis at jdlewis@city.jackson.ms.us.  

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State History, Civil Rights Museums to Host Veterans Day Ceremony

The Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are partnering with the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mississippi Veterans Affairs, and Mississippi War Veterans Memorial Commission to honor Mississippians who serve and have served in the United States Armed Forces. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 10, on the Entergy Mississippi Plaza in front of the Two Mississippi Museums. COVID-19 precautions will be in place.

“Mississippi’s extraordinary record of military service is one of the most inspiring stories that we share in the Two Mississippi Museums,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We are pleased to join with our military service organizations to pay special tribute to all the many Mississippians who have served our country.”

The program will include a performance by the 41st Army Band, a moment of silence, recognition of the veterans in attendance, memorial volley, wreath laying, and a keynote speech delivered by Major General Janson D. Boyles—the Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard. The museums are offering free admission to those currently serving in the military, veterans, and a family member of a veteran on November 10. The museums open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The museums open free of charge on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 601-540-2794 or email Colonel Allen McDaniel at amcdaniel@ngams.org.

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MDAH Receives $458K NEH Grant for State History, Civil Rights Museums

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $458,007 grant to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) from the Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) program. The SHARP grant was created to help cultural and educational institutions recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. Funding for this grant is used to retain and rehire workers, as well as reopen sites, facilities, and programs.

“The American Rescue Plan recognizes that the cultural and educational sectors are essential components of the United States economy and civic life, vital to the health and resilience of American communities,” said NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. “These new grants will provide a lifeline to the country’s colleges and universities, museums, libraries, archives, historical sites and societies, save thousands of jobs in the humanities placed at risk by the pandemic, and help bring economic recovery to cultural and educational institutions and those they serve.”

MDAH plans to use the funding from the SHARP grant to cover operating cost at the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum as well as expand its digital engagement initiative.

“We are grateful to our state’s congressional delegation and the Mississippi Humanities Council for their help and support during the pandemic,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “These funds will help us expand our public programs and outreach as we emerge from covid.”

The Museum of Mississippi History opened alongside the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in 2017 to celebrate the state's bicentennial. The Museum of Mississippi History explores the entire sweep of the state's history. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum explores the period from 1945 to 1976, when Mississippi was ground zero for the Civil Rights Movement nationally. The Two Mississippi Museums are administered by MDAH.

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State History, Civil Rights Museums Celebrate Birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer, Offer Free Admission

Civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer was born October 6, 1917. In honor of Hamer’s birthday, admission to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will be free on Wednesday, October 6. Admission will also include the PBS FRONTLINE special exhibit Un(re)solved: A Multiplatform Investigation. Museum staff will highlight Hamer’s life and legacy through guided tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

“Tenacity, inspiration and 'never give up' are words and phrases that Fannie Lou Hamer lived by. Her fortitude and strength brought about change for all mankind,” said Pamela D.C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “In honor of her birthday, October 6, we will be offering free admission. Come out and learn about the life of this woman who not only changed Mississippi, but changed the world. May we all live as she did by being and showing examples of good stewardship in our communities.” 

Born in 1917 in Montgomery County, Hamer worked for most of her life as a sharecropper. In 1962, she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and encouraged African Americans to register to vote. Hamer was a founding member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which challenged the seating of the regular party’s all-white delegation. 

Hamer’s powerful testimony to the credentials committee during the 1964 Democratic National Convention is featured in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The MFDP challenge forced the Democratic Party to eventually embrace diversity and forever changed American politics. 

On Thursday, October 7, at 6 p.m., the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will present a free sneak peek of the PBS FRONTLINE documentary American Reckoning featuring a conversation with co-directors Brad Lichtenstein and Yoruba Richen. Ronnie Agnew of Mississippi Public Broadcasting will moderate the discussion. Visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Facebook page for more information about the event.  

Safety precautions at the museums include requiring all visitors to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. Masks are available on-site. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museums is free on Sundays. 

The museums are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov

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Un(re)solved Opens at the Civil Rights, State History Museums

PBS Frontline’s traveling augmented-reality exhibit Un(re)solved will open Saturday, August 28, at the Two Mississippi Museums. The opening date will align with the commemoration of the death of Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955.

“Sixty-six years ago, an innocent fourteen-year-old boy was murdered, and justice never prevailed,” said Pamela D. C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “I think it is especially fitting that FRONTLINE’s new traveling exhibit begins its journey at the Two Mississippi Museums where we remember the people who sacrificed so much for freedom and equality.”

Drawing on more than two years of reporting, thousands of documents, and dozens of firsthand interviews, the multi-platform exhibit examines the federal government’s effort to investigate more than 150 civil rights era cold cases under the authority of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act (Till Act).

Un(re)solved tells the stories of the people on the Till Act list—voting rights advocates, veterans, business owners, mothers, fathers, and children—and the families still seeking justice today.

Un(re)solved’s advisory council includes Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter and founder of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. Mitchell’s reporting helped lead to convictions in cases such as the 1963 assassination of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers, the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

Other members of the Un(re)solved advisory council include Margaret Burnham, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University; Jelani Cobb, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism; Rhea Combs, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery; Leslie Fields-Cruz, Black Public Media; Hank Klibanoff, Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University; Stanley Nelson, Firelight Media; Ron Nixon, The Associated Press; and Lisa Osborne, Black Public Media.

“We are proud to use the multiplatform, investigative journalism in Un(re)solved as a way to shine a light on these individuals and their families and their quests for justice, and to contribute to the national conversation surrounding the reckoning on racism in America,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, FRONTLINE executive producer.

The project consists of a web-based interactive experience, serialized podcast, a touring augmented-reality exhibit, as well as a documentary and companion education curriculum for high schools and universities.

The exhibit will run from Saturday, August 28, through Sunday, October 24, in the FedEx and Medgar and Myrlie Evers Exhibition Halls at the Two Mississippi Museums. Fifteen-minute tours will be available Tuesday–Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $8 for youth ages 4–22. Discounts are available for students, seniors, active duty military, veterans, and groups of ten or more. Admission for children under the age of three is free. Ticket price includes admission to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Museum of Mississippi History, and all special exhibitions. Admission on Sunday is also free.

Museum hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

FRONTLINE is U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series known for exploring the issues of the times through powerful reporting and storytelling. FRONTLINE is produced by GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS.

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Nissan Café by Nick Wallace Opens at State History, Civil Rights Museums

The new Nissan Café by Nick Wallace Culinary is now open at the Two Mississippi Museums. Spearheaded by executive chef Nick Wallace, the new café offers a wide assortment of Southern and French inspired cuisine to museum visitors during breakfast and lunch hours Tuesdays through Sundays in the Nancy and Ray Neilsen Hall of History. 

“We are excited to have Nick Wallace Culinary at the Two Mississippi Museums,” said Katie Blount, MDAH director. “Chef Wallace has a commitment to healthy, fresh food that is inspired by history and flavors of the South. He also brings welcome energy, vision, and new ideas. But most importantly, he’s a great cook, and we love his food."

A native of Edwards, signature chef Nick Wallace acquired his culinary talents from his grandmothers, Lennel Donald and Queen Morris, who both practiced Southern home- cooking with farm-rooted family recipes. Named Mississippi’s Best Chef of 2020 and a member of the Best Chefs America, Wallace is renowned for his Mississippi-fashioned “farm to table” cooking method using garden-fresh locally grown produce and made- from-scratch ingredients in his cuisine blended with a unique classical French style. He has been featured on several international culinary competitions on the Cooking Channel and Food Network and won the Food Network’s Chopped: Alton’s Challenge in 2017 and their Fire Masters television series title in April 2021. He has also been published in cultural and culinary magazines such as Southern Living.

Chef Wallace served as a chef at the James Beard House in New York City and previously served as the executive chef at the King Edward Hotel and Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson. In addition to his restaurant business Nick Wallace Culinary, Wallace also operates his non-profit organization Creativity Kitchen, which provides healthier food selections for students in Jackson Public Schools and assists with other charity ministries in the community through food partnerships and cooking workshops.

The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—Two Mississippi Museums—are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. Café hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov.

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MDAH Board of Trustees Approves New Preservation Fund, Elects Kimberly Campbell

On Friday, July 16, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History elected a new board member and approved the establishment of the Mississippi Historic Site Preservation Fund. The Legislature created the program to provide funds to acquire and protect significant and endangered sites related to historic battlefields, Native American archaeology, and Civil Rights history, and to encourage tourism to these important destinations.

The Mississippi Historic Site Preservation Fund will award grants to defray the costs of land acquisition to protect historic properties. Grants will be awarded through a competitive application process and a one-to-one match is required. Colleges and universities, historical societies, state agencies, local governments, and 501c (3) nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive a grant through the program.

The deadline for applications is September 30, 2021. Access the application and learn more about the new grant program on the MDAH website at https://www.mdah.ms.gov/historic-preservation/preservation-planning-development#grants.

Reuben Anderson retired from the MDAH board after serving since 2007. Board members elected Kimberly L. Campbell of Jackson to fill the unexpired term of Anderson. Campbell, the State Director of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), is an attorney and former member of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Members of the board serve six-year terms. At its April 16 meeting, the board selected Spence Flatgard of Ridgeland to serve as its president beginning in October.

Other members of the board of trustees of the Department of Archives and History are Hilda Cope Povall of Cleveland, vice president; Nancy Carpenter, Columbus; Betsey Hamilton, New Albany; Web Heidelberg, Hattiesburg; Edmond Hughes, Ocean Springs; Mark Keenum, Starkville; and Helen Moss Smith of Natchez.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the second-oldest state department of archives and history in the United States. The department collects, preserves, and provides access to the archival resources of the state, administers various museums and historic sites, and oversees statewide programs for historic preservation, state and local government records management, and publications. For more information call 601-576-6850 or email info@mdah.ms.gov.

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Community Heritage Preservation Grant Applications Open

MDAH is accepting applications for preservation projects across the state. The 2021 Mississippi Legislature has provided funding for another round of the Community Heritage Preservation Grant (CHPG) Program, which helps preserve, restore, rehabilitate, and interpret historic courthouses and schools. In Certified Local Government communities grant funds may also be used for projects involving historic buildings other than courthouses or schools.

The MDAH Board of Trustees will award the grants in December. County or municipal governments, school districts, and nonprofit organizations granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status may submit applications. A cash match of at least twenty percent is required, and grant awards are reimbursed upon the successful completion of the project.

Guidelines and applications may be downloaded from the following link: CHPG Application. The deadline to submit completed applications is October 1. For more information call 601-576-6940.

The fifty-five CLG communities in Mississippi are Aberdeen, Baldwyn, Biloxi, Booneville, Brandon, Canton, Carrollton, Carthage, Claiborne County, Clarksdale, Cleveland, Clinton, Columbia, Columbus, Como, Corinth, Durant, Gautier, Greenville, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Hazlehurst, Hernando, Holly Springs, Indianola, Jackson, Kosciusko, Laurel, Leland, Lexington, Louisville, McComb, Meridian, Mound Bayou, Mount Olive, Natchez, New Albany, Newton, Ocean Springs, Oxford, Pascagoula, Philadelphia, Port Gibson, Quitman, Raymond, Senatobia, Sharkey County, Starkville, Tunica, Tupelo, Vicksburg, Water Valley, West, West Point, and Woodville.

For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov.

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