Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi and one of the leaders of the 2 Mississippi Museums fundraising campaign, met with 1,200 business leaders attending the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Capital Day on Thursday, January 7, 2016, to ask for their support to finish one of the state’s most ambitious fundraising campaigns.
“While the Legislature has invested $74 million to date in funding for the project, they required that half the cost of the exhibits be raised privately,” said Fisackerly. “To date, more than $13 million has been raised toward the $17 million private funding goal, and now we are going public with our campaign and asking all Mississippians to support these two wonderful museums.”
“We are very grateful to the Mississippi Legislature for their generous support for this project,” said Mississippi Department of Archives and History director Katie Blount. “We are looking forward to December 2017, when these two new museums will join with others across the state in telling stories of our shared past and our shared culture.”
The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will open in downtown Jackson in December 2017 in celebration of the state’s bicentennial. The Civil Rights Museum will be the first state-constructed and state-operated civil rights museum in the nation.
The two museums are expected to attract more than 180,000 visitors each year, with an annual economic impact of over $17 million. “These two history museums will be an international tourism attraction and a portal to other cultural and historic sites across the state,” said Fisackerly.
Reuben Anderson, a senior partner with the Phelps Dunbar Law Firm and trustee of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, said, “The Museum of Mississippi History will tell the broad sweep of our history, from earliest times to the present, while the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will examine the struggle for equal rights under law. These museums will tell not just a Mississippi story–but an American story.”
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History, which will operate the museums, will offer teacher training, classroom resources, public programs, and distance learning opportunities that have never before been available.
“These museums will be the largest classrooms in our state,” said Anderson.