The 2 Museums are the most significant bricks and mortar project the state will undertake to mark the bicentennial of Mississippi's statehood. Opening in December 2017, the museums will bring Mississippians together to celebrate our rich culture, explore our shared past, and meet the opportunities and challenges of our future. I can think of no better way for us to launch our next century of statehood.

-H.T. Holmes


Recent Updates

MDAH Announces Fundraising Campaign for 2 Mississippi Museums

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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.

BCBS of Mississippi Gift of $1M Announced

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The Mississippi Department of Archives and History celebrated a $1 million contribution from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi with the first inside peek at the museums.  Known for its support of Mississippi’s communities, arts, and culture, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi was one of the initial contributors to the 2 Mississippi Museums Project in 2013.  The gift is funding the orientation theater, which will be housed in the Museum of Mississippi History, where visitors will begin their museum journey.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi $1M Donation

The announcement was made June 11 from the William F. Winter Archives and History Building overlooking the construction site of the 2 Mississippi Museums in downtown Jackson.

“Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi is proud to support the 2 Mississippi Museums, which celebrate the culture and history of our state,” said Sheila Grogan, Vice President, Community and Public Relations. “We celebrate the progress Mississippi has made over the years and look forward to sharing our history, our culture and the continuing efforts to build a bright and healthy future for the next generations of Mississippians.”

For more than 70 years, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi has led the way in serving the state’s individuals, businesses and communities by providing innovative health benefits, wellness programs, and resources as well as extensive support to the Mississippi community through funding of the arts, culture, health and fitness opportunities, community organizations and through the work of its Team Blue employee volunteers.

“This building project is the most significant in my lifetime in Mississippi,” said William F. Winter, governor of Mississippi 1980-84 and member of the board of directors of the Foundation for Mississippi History. “It speaks loudly to the country and the world about the progress we have made. It also speaks to the opportunity that we have to see to it that succeeding generations of Mississippians, and especially young people, will understand and appreciate their heritage and be inspired to be the best citizens they possibly can.”

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Orientation Theater will welcome visitors to the Museum of Mississippi History and set the stage for their journey through the eight chronological galleries. Designed as a theater in the round, it is the first of four theaters that will build on the theme of history as a shared story with many voices.

In 2011, Governor Haley Barbour worked with the Mississippi Legislature to begin funding the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The Legislature has committed $74 million in bond funds for construction and exhibits for the 2 Mississippi Museums. The Legislature required a dollar-for-dollar match for the exhibits. The Foundation for Mississippi History and the Foundation for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum committed to raising $16 million—$12 million for exhibits and $4 million for endowments for the museums. The foundations are on track to meet that goal. MDAH will seek additional public funds in 2016 to complete the exhibits and furnish the building.

Since construction began in December 2013, all interior floors have been completed, work on the roof is nearly finished, and installation of the limestone façade has begun. Phase one includes the construction of a public parking garage and will be completed in summer 2015. Phase two, interior construction, will last 18 months. The museums are scheduled to open in December 2017 as the centerpiece of the state’s bicentennial celebration.

 

Nissan Commits $500,000 to Museums

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The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has received a $500,000 donation from Nissan for the 2 Mississippi Museums project. The gift will sponsor the “I Question America” gallery in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the dining room shared by the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

Nissan donates $500k to Mississippi Museums

The announcement was made April 27 from the Nissan Vehicle Assembly Plant in Canton.

“This project seeks to tell the full story of Mississippi’s past while also magnifying hopes for the future,” said Jeffrey Webster, director of Diversity and Inclusion for Nissan North America. “This contribution continues Nissan’s commitment to diversity, education and service in our community.”

Together with its more than 6,000 employees, Nissan has provided more than $11 million in charitable donations since it began operations in Mississippi in 2003. As an economic and civic leader in Mississippi, Nissan has supported organizations that help serve local community including Habitat for Humanity, Mississippi Food Network, Community Stewpot, Our Daily Bread, United Way, area school districts and colleges, Boys and Girls Clubs, 100 Black Men, Mississippi Children’s Museum, Mission Mississippi, the Natural Science Museum, and the Nature Conservancy.

“This gift is an investment in the future of Mississippi that symbolizes the unity that these two museums are going to promote,” said William F. Winter, governor of Mississippi 1980-84 and member of the board of directors of the Foundation for Mississippi History. “Think about these buildings as two world-class schoolhouses where we are going to have the opportunity to teach succeeding generations of people, not just in Mississippi but across the country and around the world, what has gone before to establish the kind of society that we have today.”

“The 2 Mississippi Museums are a world-class project, and Nissan is a world-class manufacturer,” said state senator John Horhn. “We welcome Nissan as our partner in telling this important story—and telling it honestly and forthrightly.”

“We’re proud of Nissan’s commitment to our history and our culture,” said Ronnie Musgrove, governor of Mississippi 2000-04. “Our state is a better state thanks to Nissan’s coming to Mississippi.”

The “I Question America” space will focus on the pivotal years of 1963 and 1964 when Mississippi witnessed widespread voter registration campaigns and direct actions in communities across the state. The gallery’s name is taken from Fannie Lou Hamer’s famous statement at the Democratic National Party convention in Atlantic City, “If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hook because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings in America?”

The public dining area will be developed for use by the daily visitors to the museums and include a catering kitchen equipped for special events in the complex.

In 2011 Governor Haley Barbour worked with the Mississippi Legislature to begin funding the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The Legislature has committed $74 million in bond funds for construction and exhibits for the 2 Mississippi Museums. The Legislature required a dollar-for-dollar match for the exhibits. The Foundation for Mississippi History and the Foundation for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum committed to raising $16 million—$12 million for exhibits and $4 million for endowments for the museums. The Foundations are on track to meet that goal. MDAH will seek additional public funds in 2016 to complete the exhibits and furnish the building.

Since construction began in December 2013, all interior floors have been completed, work on the roof is nearly finished, and installation of the limestone façade has begun. Phase one includes the construction of a public parking garage and is expected to be completed in summer 2015. Phase two, interior construction, will last 18 months. The museums are scheduled to open in December 2017 as the centerpiece of the state’s bicentennial celebration.

 

From Our Collection

The Jackson Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation used fingerprint cameras and kits like this one in investigations throughout the state.

After having been closed in the 1940s, the FBI reopened the field office in July, 1964, during the height of Freedom Summer to handle investigations into civil rights cases. The FBI was also heavily involved in the investigation into the disappearance and murder of the three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

This kit will be displayed in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in the exhibit discussing the murders of these men. It was donated by the FBI.