News Releases

Two Mississippi Museums Free Feb. 21, in Memory of Mississippi Governor William Winter

February 16, 2024

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Two Mississippi Museums in December 2017, former Governor William F. Winter declared, These two museums were built for all of us, but most especially they were built for our children and our grandchildren and future generations.” His dream was that every Mississippi student would visit these museums at least once.  

To honor Governor Winter's legacy, the Two Mississippi Museums will be free to the public on Wednesday, February 21. This day of free admission is made possible by Jones Walker LLP., which acquired Watkins, Ludlam, Winter and Stennis where Governor Winter worked for over 50 years. 

We are proud to honor the legacy of Governor and First Lady Winter by providing access to such an enlightening institution - the Two Mississippi Museums, said Bill Hines, managing partner of Jones Walker LLP. We hope those who visit realize how passionate they were not only for the history of Mississippi, but also for providing opportunity to its future generations. 

Winter was known for his strong support for public education in Mississippi. He helped to raise endowment funds to bring Mississippi’s school children to the Two Mississippi Museums.

The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum stand at the intersection of Winter’s greatest passions—history, education, and racial justice—and he was the leading force behind the public/private partnership through which they were built.    

“We are grateful to the Winter family and to Jones Walker for this special tribute to Governor and Mrs. Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums, said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. What a great way to celebrate his legacy by allowing visitors to explore and learn about our state’s history in the place he worked so hard to help create.

Winter served on the MDAH Board of Trustees for more than 50 years and was president for nearly that long. He died December 18, 2020, at the age of 97. Elise Winter, his wife of 70 years who was a community activist and author, died just six months after her husband on July 17, 2021.   

The William and Elise Winter Education Endowment was established by the Foundation for Mississippi History to memorialize Mississippi’s former governor and first lady and their commitment to education and preservation. Funds are used to defray costs such as admission, travel, and on-site lunches for students.  

For more information about free Wednesday, February 21, at the Two Mississippi Museums, email, or call 601-576-6850. 

To learn more about school field trips to the Two Mississippi Museums or to make a field trip reservation visit


Be part of history. Volunteer with MDAH and help us preserve and connect Mississippi’s rich historic resources with people around the world.