MDAH Board of Trustees

Web Heidelberg Retires from MDAH Board, TJ Taylor Elected

Web Heidelberg retired from the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) during its regular meeting in Natchez on Friday, October 21, 2022. Arnold “TJ” Taylor of Madison was elected to the board during the meeting to fill the unexpired term of Edmond Hughes, who stepped down earlier this year. Taylor’s nomination will be submitted to the Mississippi Senate for confirmation.

Heidelberg served on the MDAH Board of Trustees for twelve years. He has been an active leader in preservation, serving on the boards of the Mississippi Heritage Trust and the Mississippi Historical Society. Heidelberg served as the president of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association in 2011, and has served on the National Register of Historic Places Review Board since 2012. He was involved in the restoration of several properties in the Hattiesburg community, including Saenger Theater and the Forrest County Courthouse.

“Web’s continued dedication to preserving our state’s historic resources is both remarkable and unwavering,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “He and his wife, Michelle, will be greatly missed by his board colleagues and the MDAH staff.”

TJ Taylor is executive director of the Mississippi Cable Telecommunications Association. He formerly served as counsel, policy advisor, and policy director for House Speaker Philip Gunn. In 2020, Speaker Gunn appointed Taylor to the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag.

“TJ has a strong interest in our state’s history, and has even made history as a member of the Flag Commission,” said MDAH board president Spence Flatgard. “He is highly regarded by our state’s leadership, and I am thrilled he has agreed to join our Board.”

Taylor earned his juris doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Law and is a member of the Mississippi Bar. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Historical Society.

Members of the MDAH board serve six-year terms and must be confirmed by the state senate. Other members of the board of trustees of the Department of Archives and History are Hilda Cope Povall of Cleveland, vice president; Carter Burns of Natchez; Kimberly Campbell of Madison; Nancy Carpenter of Columbus; Betsey Hamilton of New Albany; and Mark Keenum of Starkville.

The board also reviewed plans for MDAH sites in Natchez—the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and Historic Jefferson College. MDAH will renovate and expand the visitors center at Grand Village, working closely with Tribal partners and the Natchez community to develop new interpretation at the site.

MDAH will restore the buildings at Historic Jefferson College and create an interpretive center sharing the nationally significant history of the Natchez region. MDAH is working with the Historic Natchez Foundation, National Park Service, Mississippi State University, Tulane University, and other colleges in the region to develop a historic preservation field school at the site. The field school will offer hands-on training in preservation skills that are in high demand.

The Mississippi Legislature has provided $8 million for the MDAH sites in Natchez, and the department is seeking additional funding from federal, local, and private sources.

For more information call 601-576-6850, or email

Photo courtesy of TJ Taylor. 




Carter Burns Elected to MDAH Board of Trustees

Carter Burns, executive director of the Historic Natchez Foundation (HNF), has been elected to the board of trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH). The action took place at the regular meeting of the MDAH Board of Trustees on Friday, January 21. His nomination will be submitted to the Mississippi State Senate for confirmation.

“We are excited to welcome Carter Burns to the MDAH Board,” said board president Spence Flatgard. “Not only does he have deep roots in Natchez, but he brings valuable expertise in historic preservation. With MDAH focused on two major projects in Natchez—at Historic Jefferson College and Grand Village of the Natchez Indians—Burns will be a tremendous asset to the board.”

A Natchez native, Burns has served as the executive director of the HNF for three years, where he is responsible for all staffing, operations, and programs. He holds a bachelor of arts in English from Millsaps College, a juris doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, and a master of historic preservation from the University of Georgia. He is a former board member of the Mississippi Heritage Trust and currently serves on the board of the Mississippi Historical Society and the National Preservation Partners Network.

Burns succeeds Helen Smith, who retired after two years on the board. Throughout her board service, Smith offered strong support and encouragement to the MDAH staff.

“Helen was an outstanding board member who represented the department with distinction on Natchez and brought a valuable perspective on historic preservation to board deliberations,” said MDAH executive director Katie Blount.

The board also reelected Spence Flatgard, Ridgeland, as president and Hilda Povall, Cleveland, as vice president of the board. Betsy Hamilton of New Albany, was elected to her third six-year term, and Kimberly Campbell of Jackson, was reelected to serve a six-year term, after fulfilling the remainder of Reuben Anderson’s term.

Board nominees must be confirmed by the state senate. Members serve six-year terms. The other members of the board are Nancy Carpenter, Columbus; Betsey Hamilton, New Albany; Web Heidelberg, Hattiesburg; Edmond E. Hughes Jr., Ocean Springs; and Mark Keenum, Starkville.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the second-oldest state department of archives and history in the United States. The department collects, preserves, and provides access to the archival resources of the state, administers various museums and historic sites, and oversees statewide programs for historic preservation, state and local government records management, and publications. 



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