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What is that?
An artifact.
What is an artifact?
Why is that important?

Our museums, historic sites and archives collect historic objects and preserve them for future generations to see. From pre-historic pottery and tools to 20th century toys the MDAH collections are great! Our curators and other staff will select artifacts to bring to you.


Duck Decoy

Decoy DuckDuck decoys are used by duck hunters to attract real ducks. Carved of wood or cork (and today made of plastic or canvas) and realistically painted, decoys are now considered an important form of North American folk art. Beginning in the 1920s, Pascagoula became a center for duck decoy production because of its access to tupelo gum and pop ash trees and a large workforce skilled in sawmills and shipbuilding. These workers used a duplicating lathe machine to make decoys and increase production. The machines also caused the rough marks resembling feathers on the duck’s body. These marks are one of the unique features that make Pascagoula duck decoys special.



1987 Wheaties box feat. Walter PaytonWheaties Box

Developed in 1921, Wheaties entered the sports arena 12 years later when it was declared “The Breakfast of Champions.”

Athletes such as Babe Ruth, Sonja Henie, and Michael Jordan would endorse the cereal over the years but the first football player to grace its box cover was Columbia native Walter Payton in 1987.

An All-American from Jackson State University, Payton was a running-back for the Chicago Bears for 13 seasons and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.





Kermit the Frog
Kermit the Frog

Did you know that Kermit the Frog has a Mississippi connection? His creator, Jim Henson, was born in Leland! Kermit made his first television appearance in 1955 on Sam and Friends. Later he had starring roles on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

Although Henson died in 1990, Kermit has continued his acting career and is also an accomplished singer and author. He has been honored with a stamp by the U.S. Postal Service and with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.





2012.18.20Sixth Grade Speller

This 1940 textbook may look like an ordinary sixth grade spelling book but it tells a unique story. That’s because it was used by an African American student in a segregated school.

Its owner was the son of A.M.E. Logan, a civil rights worker from Jackson who worked with other well-known activists such as Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr. She and her husband were among the first people in Mississippi to file a school desegregation lawsuit in 1963 to allow African American and white children to attend school together.





1990.8.1Toy Piano

Toy pianos have been made since the mid-19th century. This Schoenhut piano was made around 1905. Only 24 inches high and at a cost of approximately $15.00, it was much more affordable than a regular Steinway piano which could cost up to $1,400.00!

This one belonged to two sisters from Columbus; it had previously belonged to a cousin.





Poll Tax


This small artifact is a part of the “In Session” exhibit at the Old Capitol Museum. A receipt dated 1896 for “State, County and Special Taxes for the Fiscal Year” in the first district of Coahoma County may seem like just another scrap of paper until you realize its impact on Mississippi.

The $2.00 poll tax was put in place by the 1890 Mississippi Constitution. Two dollars ($2.00) may not seem like much today, but in 1896 it was the equivalent of about $55.00. This tax prevented poor blacks and whites from voting in the elections. In Mississippi we have come a long way from 1896. Today every citizen has the right to vote and have their voice counted.