Grand Village of Natchez Indians

Step Back in Time at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians Through New Virtual Reality App

Have you stood on the grounds of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and wondered what the site might have looked like hundreds of years ago? A new application developed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) and TimeLooper lets viewers virtually experience the Grand Village as it appeared in 1730.

“There are many exciting developments ongoing at the Grand Village,” said Lance Harris, director of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.  “From recent archival and archaeological research, we will be able to expand the interpretation of the site in ways never imagined before. I am excited that we will be able to share the history and culture of the Natchez people in this state-of-the-art experience.”

Structures in the virtual reality experience were created using archaeological findings and descriptions written by French colonists who observed the Natchez ceremonial mound site when it was occupied. The free TimeLooper app, available on Apple or Google allows viewers to see a representation of the home of the Great Sun, the hereditary chief of the Natchez, which the French described as the largest house in the Grand Village.

The application shows the Temple Mound, the sacred place where the Natchez leaders conducted important ceremonies and people brought offerings of food to honor their ancestors. Viewers can also see the large wooden birds that topped the roof of the temple, which French colonists described in their accounts.

Information about the 1729–¬1730 Natchez war with the French, the Old Temple Mound, other Natchez structures, and the ceremonies that took place on the central plaza are also featured in the application.

This experience is available to users at no cost. The TimeLooper app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“This application presents us with a fresh way to share the important story of the Natchez Indians with more people around the world,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “I am thankful for the good work of our staff and TimeLooper for creating this free and accessible product.”

The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, administered by MDAH, contains three prehistoric Native American mounds and a museum. The Natchez Indians inhabited the site as early as AD 1200. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and opened as a museum in 1976. Learn more about the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians here.

“We were thrilled to collaborate with MDAH to transport people back to 1730 and enable users to visualize the scale and beauty of Village community,” said Andrew Feinberg, a Principal and Founder of TimeLooper. “It has been wonderful to see MDAH take the lead in enhancing the immersion and accessibility of the Grand Village site, particularly in these challenging times when visiting historic sites is problematic.” 

About TimeLooper 

TimeLooper is an experiential design firm serving public lands, historic sites, museums, and educational institutions. TimeLooper’s goal is to bring history and science to life through the development and deployment of immersive and interactive experiences that not only teach, but inspire. TimeLooper is dedicated to enhancing the accessibility and experiential quality of all institutions in the name of cultural understanding and education.

Press Contacts:

Andrew Feinberg                                   
(212) 873-2677

MDAH To Reopen Museums & Library in July Gary Ballard Thu, 06/04/2020 - 07:54

On Tuesday, July 7, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) will reopen the Eudora Welty House & Garden, Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson, and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in Natchez.

“We are excited to reopen our museums and welcome the public at this historic moment. As our nation deals with COVID-19, economic hardship, and the legacy of racial injustice, MDAH has an ever more important role to play,” said Reuben Anderson, president of the MDAH Board of Trustees. “Our archives and museums document and teach about epidemics, recessions, and other crises in our past that we have overcome together. They also teach about the history of racial injustice in America from the days of slavery through the Civil Rights Movement.”

Anderson continued, “By helping build a shared understanding of our history, we are strengthening our resolve, uniting our people, and paving the way for a brighter future together.”

In a continuing effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, each site will limit the number of visitors inside. Visitors will be required to wear masks, and masks will be available on site. All the public spaces have been sanitized, and thorough cleaning will continue every day. Staff will be on site to ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online to the Eudora Welty House & Garden, Museum of Mississippi History, and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

“We are especially eager to welcome visitors to our brand new exhibit at the Two Mississippi Museums—Mississippi Distilled—which explores our state’s tumultuous relationship with alcohol,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “As soon as it is safe to gather in larger numbers, we will celebrate this exhibit with a series of public events.”

The popular Wednesday noon lecture series History Is Lunch continues online—viewers will find the programs on the MDAH Facebook page.

For more information email

MDAH Sites to Close until Further Notice

Based on information provided by the Mississippi Department of Health about the coronavirus pandemic, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will close all sites beginning Friday, March 13. The Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Eudora Welty House and Garden, Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building, and Charlotte Capers Building in Jackson, Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in Natchez, and Winterville Mounds near Greenville will all close until further notice.

All public events at MDAH sites through the end of May have been postponed, including the weekly History Is Lunch program and the Mississippi Freedom Seder event on April 2, at the Two Mississippi Museums. The New Stage Theater event at the Old Capitol Museum on March 31, and the Powwow at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians on March 28, have also been postponed.

For more information email or call 601-576-6822.

Beading Workshop at Grand Village

For thousands of years American Indians have used bone, clay, and stone beads in jewelry and clothing. The introduction of glass beads from trade with Europeans sparked an explosion of new forms of artistic expression among Native people. On Saturday, December 8, Grand Village of the Natchez Indians director Lance Harris will lead a workshop on one of the most popular beading techniques known as lane stitch.

In this method, a design is chosen and a grid of lines may be laid out on the leather or fabric piece. When working with the traditional material of sinew, Native Americans would punch holes with an awl at spaces determined by the size of the beads. (For the workshop, needle and thread will be used instead of sinew.) The name of the technique comes from the “lanes” the beads are sewn into that consist of short (usually six to ten beads long) rows fitted tightly together and running perpendicular to the direction of the lane.

“Seed beads” are most often used with this method. The name comes from the beads’ small size, which makes them look like something like bird seed. Most of the seed beads used in traditional Native pieces are no larger than 2 millimeters apiece. The glass beads were popular for their durability, uniform size, and bright, vibrant colors.

After an overview of Native American beading and the lane stitch technique, participants will create a piece of their own. The registration fee of $20 covers all needed materials. The deadline to sign up is Wednesday, December 5. For more information or to reserve a spot, call 601-446-6502 or email

A native of Laurel, Lance Harris studied history and anthropology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He began attending powwows in his youth and has been constructing dance clothes and beading for twenty-five years. Before joining the Grand Village, Harris was interim director of the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and was the director of curatorial services within the Louisiana Department of State Museums Division.

The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians was the main ceremonial mound center of the Natchez people from 1682 until 1730. The 128-acre National Historic Landmark features three mounds, a plaza, nature trail, museum, and store. Administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Grand Village is located at 400 Jefferson Davis Boulevard and is open free of charge to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 1:30 to 5 p.m.


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