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Lucy Allen has retired as director of the MDAH Museum Division after forty years of service to the department. She led the division through the restoration and reopening of the Old Capitol Museum, the creation of the Eudora Welty House and Garden, and the development and construction of the Two Mississippi Museums, which have attracted more than 320,000 visitors since opening in December 2017.

“Lucy Allen was an outstanding leader of the Museum Division, and the Two Mississippi Museums stand as her greatest achievement,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “Cindy Gardner, who has been at Lucy’s side for the past twenty years, will continue Lucy’s commitment to telling Mississippi’s stories through powerful exhibits and public programs.”

Gardner has been selected as the new director of the Museum Division. She served at MDAH as the collections registrar at the Old Capitol Museum, director of collections for the department’s Museum Division, and most recently, as administrator of the Two Mississippi Museums. Gardner earned her bachelor’s degree from Stetson University in Florida. At the 2018 Southeastern Museum Conference annual meeting, Gardner received the Museum Leadership Award for advancing the museum profession.

“I am honored to lead this division at such an incredible time for our agency,” said Gardner. “I am proud to announce that we are merging our staff at the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum to strengthen our programming and visitor experience.

“Pamela Junior will serve as the director of the Two Mississippi Museums and Rachel Myers will become the deputy director. Dorian Pridgen will serve as director of visitor experience and Clay Williams will continue to serve as sites administrator for MDAH sites across the state.”

Pamela Junior joined MDAH in 2017 as director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Previously, she managed the Smith-Robertson Museum and Cultural Center in Jackson for eighteen years. Junior earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Jackson State University. She is the recipient of the Freedom Rider’s award from the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation, the For My People award from the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, and the Hometown Hero award from Visit Jackson.

Rachel Myers, who has served as the director of the Museum of Mississippi History, will now serve as deputy director of the Two Mississippi Museums. Before joining MDAH in 2017, she was director of the Museum Department of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life and worked as a program assistant at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Brandeis University and a master’s in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Dorian Pridgen will oversee the operations of the Mississippi Museum Store and manage facility rental and visitor services at MDAH sites. She has worked as the visitor services coordinator at the Two Mississippi Museums since 2017. Pridgen has taught at elementary and middle schools in Mississippi, Texas, and New Orleans. She also served as the school programs director at the Mississippi Museum of Art for four years. Pridgen earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Jackson State University.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the second-oldest state department of archives and history in the United States. The department’s mission is to inspire the discovery of stories that connect our lives and shape our future by preserving Mississippi’s diverse historic resources and sharing them with people around the world. The department is headquartered in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6850.

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