Museum of Mississippi History
2 Mississippi Museums
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
About 2MM

In December 2017 the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will open in celebration of the state’s bicentennial.

The 2 Mississippi Museums will be a place where Mississippians tell their own stories of the state’s rich and complex history. These stories will be told through the many resources from the collection of the Department of Archives and History—a journal from the Civil War homefront, film footage of a civil rights worker, or an interview with a present-day Choctaw.

The state has committed $74 million to date for this state-of-the art 200,000 square-foot educational center that will be a portal to other cultural attractions across the state,  preserve and share over 22,000 artifacts,  and benefit hundreds of thousands of people a year through museum visits, public programs, and educational outreach.

While the majority of funding for the 2 Museums has been provided by the Mississippi Legislature, the Foundation for Mississippi History and the Foundation for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are working to raise private funds for exhibits and endowments. The campaign goal is $17 million.

The eyes of the world will be on Mississippi in December 2017 when the 2 Mississippi Museums open. Join us when Mississippi makes history.

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will examine the transformation of black Mississippians from slaves to leaders in the fight for civil and voting rights. It will focus on the years 1945 to 1976 to tell the story of struggle for fair treatment under the law for all. This will be the nation’s first state-operated civil rights museum.

Community meetings for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum were held in 2011 and 2012 in Cleveland, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Holly Springs, Itta Bena, Jackson, McComb, and Philadelphia to gather suggestions for the museum and stories of local people involved in the civil rights movement.

“African American culture is at the very center of American history and culture,” Dr. John Fleming, former executive director of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center and consultant for Hilferty & Associates, told the attendees at one meeting. “If we do this right it will tell the whole story, but we can only tell the whole story if you are willing to be an active participant in that process.”

Using input gathered from the community meetings, an advisory scholars group, and the MCRM Advisory Commission, Hilferty & Associates developed a schematic plan for the museum. The story of the African American Mississippian’s struggle for freedom and justice will be told through seven thematic galleries of exhibits encircling a central gallery, This Little Light of Mine, which will serve as an entryway to the other exhibits.

This central gallery will carry the theme of the entire museum: that throughout Mississippi, ordinary people engaged in an extraordinary struggle to make real America’s promise of equal rights for all.  A stunning sculpture and music honoring civil rights veterans will be the focus of this dramatic light-filled space.

Museum of Mississippi History

The Museum of Mississippi History will explore the entire sweep of the state’s history, from earliest times to the present. The museum collection dates back to artifacts acquired in the early days of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), founded in 1902. Initially housed in the state capitol, the small but popular exhibits featured military artifacts, fossilized bones, and even a ceremonial Polynesian head-dress.

In 1961 the State History Museum opened in the rehabilitated Old Capitol in downtown Jackson and operated there until 2005. While that site provided a grand setting, ongoing maintenance issues and the limitations of a historic structure convinced the Mississippi Legislature that a new building should be constructed for the State History Museum. In 1998 the Legislature authorized the department to begin planning a new Museum of Mississippi History.

The Old Capitol would then be fully restored and opened as a museum interpreting the history of the building, which served as the seat of Mississippi’s government from 1839 until 1903.

Over the decades the collection continued to grow and focus more on materials directly related to the state’s history. MDAH now has the world’s finest collection of Mississippi artifacts, including a rare 1818 Twenty-Star U.S. flag, an original Bowie knife, quilts made by slaves, and prehistoric Native American artifacts.

The new Museum of Mississippi History will provide four times the exhibit space the Old Capitol offered—more than 21,000 square feet. With larger and more flexible galleries, the museum will be able to employ innovative exhibition techniques and address a broader range of topics in more depth.

The museum will be able to feature more of the state’s collection of artifacts in its permanent exhibits and also have room for temporary exhibits. Increased storage space will enable staff to properly care for the more than 13,000 artifacts in the museum’s collections.

From The Collection

“How We Live”
Father Paul Canonici
“Harvesting Cotton/ Bringing to Store”
William Duffner
Fingerprint Cameras and Kits
Hunting Horn
Enduring Cultures
Florence Mars’s Typewriter

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