MDAH News

Eleventh Moon Storytelling at Grand Village

Gather around the fire at Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and hear storytellers share centuries-old stories about Native people and the natural world on Saturday, January 29, 4:30–5:30 p.m.

This outdoor storytelling program will feature Eli Langley, member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, and Dan Isaac, member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, along with local storytellers Marianne Raley and Brandon McCranie, emceed by Becky Anderson. 

“We are excited to bring Eleventh Moon Storytelling back to the Grand Village,” said Lance Harris, director of the site.  “This program has entertained families for decades with some of the biggest attendance seen the last several times.  This year’s event will be special due to our excellent guest storytellers.”

The Natchez Indians followed a lunar calendar that was measured by thirteen moons, or months. The month of January was referred to as Eleventh Moon or Cold Meal Moon.

Admission is free, and refreshments will be provided. For more information call 601-446-6502 or email info@natchezgrandvillage.com.

The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians will also offer a storytelling workshop earlier that day from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Storytellers Eli Langley and Dan Isaac will discuss and demonstrate the art of storytelling. Registration is limited to twenty people. The deadline is January 21, 2022. For more information or to register, call 601-446-6502, or email info@natchezgrandvillage.com.

Eli Langley is a storyteller who grew up in southern Louisiana surrounded by Coushatta culture and language. In 2021 he was the first Coushatta Tribe member to graduate from Harvard University, where he received credit for knowledge of his own tribal language—Koasati, the Coushatta language.

Dan Isaac is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and a veteran of the United States Air Force. He works with young people teaching the Chahta Social Dances as well as other aspects of Choctaw culture including language, spiritual practices, traditions, and values.

The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians was the main ceremonial mound center of the Natchez people from 1682 until 1730. The 128-acre National Historic Landmark features three mounds, a plaza, nature trail, museum, and store. Administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Grand Village is located at 400 Jefferson Davis Boulevard and is open free of charge to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 1:30 to 5 p.m. 

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"Emerging Grace: Andrew Bucci's Early Works" Opens Jan. 12 with a Special History Is Lunch Program

The special exhibition Emerging Grace: Andrew Bucci’s Early Works will open Wednesday, January 12, in the lobby of the William F. Winter Archives & History building. The exhibition will feature Bucci’s earliest artworks, sketches, and biographical materials. The artifacts showcased in this exhibit are from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s (MDAH) Andrew Bucci Collection. The collection was donated to the department in January 2021 by the Andrew Bucci Estate.  

“Andrew Bucci’s lifelong involvement in the Mississippi arts community played a central role in his artistic journey and in his extraordinary creative legacy. It’s a story that is richly documented in the sketchbooks, scrapbooks and biographical materials that constitute the new Andrew Bucci Collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History,” said the niece of Andrew Bucci, Margaret Bucci. “By donating these treasures to MDAH, Andrew’s estate wishes to honor, preserve, and illuminate his life’s work and help cultivate a deeper understanding of one of Mississippi’s most revered visual artists.” 

The exhibition is scheduled to kick off on January 12, the centennial birthday of Andrew Bucci. In honor of this special day, the first History Is Lunch program of the 2022 year will feature Margaret Bucci and Beth Batton, curator of the Emerging Grace exhibit. Following the program Batton and Bucci will lead a tour of the new exhibit. The exhibit will run through March 12 and be open to the public Monday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.  

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. For more information call 601-576-6850 or email info@mdah.ms.gov. 

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FedEx to Sponsor Free MLK Day at State History, Civil Rights Museums

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), the world’s largest express transportation company, is supporting free admission to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History on Monday, January 17, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The museums will also be free on Sunday, January 16.

“We are grateful to FedEx for their continued support of our annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

“At FedEx, we believe that when we connect people and possibilities, we can change the world,” said Rose Flenorl, manager of Global Citizenship at FedEx Services. "We are proud to support free public admission to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History, to help visitors connect with Dr. King’s legacy, and leave inspired to drive positive changes of their own.”

The museums will open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, January 17. Museum hours for Sunday, January 16, are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Safety precautions at the museums include requiring all visitors to wear face masks and observe social distancing guidelines while inside the building.

At 6 p.m. on Monday, January 17, join us for the annual MLK Night of Culture program in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Two Mississippi Museums. This year’s theme is “Those Who Stayed,” inspired by the stories of the individuals who remained in Mississippi during the Great Migration, a population movement of African Americans who left their homes to seek better opportunities in the northern and western states in response to racial injustice in the rural South. The event is free and includes live poetry and performances by Jackson State University’s MADDRAMA theatre troupe, Hinds Community College’s MONTAGE Theatre of Dance, and other featured artists. Seating is limited. The event will also be streamed live on the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Facebook page.

Dr. King’s involvement in Mississippi included attending the funeral of NAACP state field secretary Medgar Evers in 1963, visiting Greenwood in support of Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964, and testifying in support of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) during the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

For more information, call 601-576-6850 or email info@mdah.ms.gov.

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MDAH Launches Family Genealogy Fellowships

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) will award fellowships of up to $2,000 to support individuals hoping to locate information related to their family history using resources available at MDAH. The fellowships are a part of a year-long initiative in 2022 to expand understanding of the Great Migration and its impact on Mississippi and the nation.

“The Great Migration is the largest internal migration of people in U.S. history. Many families who left Mississippi still feel a close connection to our state. We’re glad to be able to help them come back to Mississippi and research their roots,” said MDAH director Katie Blount.

Ten research stipends of up to $2,000 will be awarded to ten researchers to travel to Jackson, MS, and conduct three consecutive days of research at MDAH. Selected applicants may schedule their fellowships during the months of February, April, May, June, and July 2022. The stipend may be used to cover travel, accommodations, and other expenses accrued during the researcher’s time at MDAH such as the cost of copies. For more information or to apply, click here.

The Great Migration Initiative is a partnership between MDAH and the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA). Additional programs and events include the exhibitions A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration at MMA, The Negro Motorist Green Book Guide at MDAH, joint teacher workshop, and other programs related to art and history. For more information on the Great Migration Initiative, email info@mdah.ms.gov.

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MDAH 2021 Holiday Closures

In observance of New Year’s Day, The Two Mississippi Museums, Eudora Welty House & Garden, and Grand Village of the Natchez Indians will close early at 3 p.m. on Friday, December 31, and be closed on Saturday, January 1. The Nissan Cafe by Nick Wallace Culinary at the Two Mississippi Museums will be closed through Sunday, January 2.

The archives library will be closed Friday, December 31–Saturday, January 1.

Visit www.mdah.ms.gov/explore-mississippi for more information about each site.

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Holiday Open House at the Mississippi Museum Store

On Saturday, November 20, join us for the Holiday Open House at the Mississippi Museum Store. The come-and-go event is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy samples from Mississippi vendors, special sale prices on select merchandise, artist and maker meet-and-greet opportunities, and additional discounts for museum members.

Nick Wallace Culinary will provide tasty food samplings, and other local vendors will also offer delicious treats.

The event includes book signings, custom hand-written invitations and ornaments, complimentary gift packaging, and a 10 percent discount on all merchandise. Museum members will receive a 20 percent discount on store items. Become a museum member online at give2mississippimuseums.com or purchase a membership during the event.

The Mississippi Museum Store offers one of the state’s finest collections of folk art, local handmade crafts, and books by and about Mississippians. Find unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list this year at the Mississippi Museum Store while visiting with local artists and makers. Shop artisan-made items for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Highlighted merchandise includes Walter Anderson prints, Wolfe Studio birds, Harold Miller sculptures, and Shearwater Pottery. Other Mississippi-made products featured in the store are candles, jewelry, gourmet products, museum souvenirs, newly-designed Mississippi state flag merchandise, and much more.

The Mississippi Museum Store at the Two Mississippi Museums is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The museums open free of charge on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. Call 601-576-6921 or email store@mdah.ms.gov for more information.

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Christmas by Candlelight Tour Returns December 3 in Partnership with Capital City Lights, MDAH Partners with City of Jackson for Bicentennial

On Friday, December 3, enjoy free live music, holiday decorations, and treats during the 2021 Christmas by Candlelight Tour. In addition to the traditional features of the tour—shuttle buses, model train exhibit—this year's event will coincide with the City of Jackson's Capital City Lights, the kickoff event of the city's year-long bicentennial celebration. 

The Mississippi State Capitol and four MDAH sites will be open and sporting holiday decorations: the Mississippi Governor's Mansion, the grounds of the Old Capitol Museum, Museum of Mississippi History, and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. 

Park and take advantage of the shuttle buses running between sites, walk or drive and come and go on your own schedule. The Candlelight tour takes place from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Capital City Lights will continue with additional activities, including shopping at two outdoor markets, Magnolia Marketplace and JXN Flea, classic cars, emergency vehicles set up in touch-a-truck style, live music, hot chocolate, caroling, marching bands, holiday décor, and of course…LIGHTS! 

Governor Tate Reeves and First Lady Elee Reeves will welcome visitors to the Mississippi Governor's Mansion, along with Santa. The model town of Possum Ridge and its trains will be displayed on the second floor of the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—and the Mississippi Museum Store will be open. The museums will also feature a sixteen-foot Christmas tree. The Old Capitol Museum will be decorated and lit, and choirs will perform on the grounds. A jazz ensemble will perform at the Mississippi State Capitol, which will be decorated and open for tours. 

On November 28, 1821, the Mississippi Legislature designated LeFleur's Bluff as the site of the state capitol. Jackson's first map was completed in April 1822 and consisted of the areas between High and South Streets and between Jefferson and West Streets. 

The legislature incorporated the town and named Jackson the county seat of Hinds County in 1822. The Mississippi Legislature first met in Jackson on December 23, 1822 in a nonextant structure. In 1839, legislators began convening in a newly-built statehouse, which now serves as the Old Capitol Museum. The current Mississippi State Capitol was completed in 1903.

The Capital City Lights planning committee consists of members of City of Jackson, MDAH, GJAC, Visit Jackson, Downtown Jackson Partners, local hoteliers, retailers and residents.  

For more information about the Christmas by Candlelight Tour, call 601-576-6850 or email info@mdah.ms.gov. For more information about Capital City Lights, email J. David Lewis at jdlewis@city.jackson.ms.us.  

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State History, Civil Rights Museums to Host Veterans Day Ceremony

The Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are partnering with the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mississippi Veterans Affairs, and Mississippi War Veterans Memorial Commission to honor Mississippians who serve and have served in the United States Armed Forces. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 10, on the Entergy Mississippi Plaza in front of the Two Mississippi Museums. COVID-19 precautions will be in place.

“Mississippi’s extraordinary record of military service is one of the most inspiring stories that we share in the Two Mississippi Museums,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We are pleased to join with our military service organizations to pay special tribute to all the many Mississippians who have served our country.”

The program will include a performance by the 41st Army Band, a moment of silence, recognition of the veterans in attendance, memorial volley, wreath laying, and a keynote speech delivered by Major General Janson D. Boyles—the Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard. The museums are offering free admission to those currently serving in the military, veterans, and a family member of a veteran on November 10. The museums open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The museums open free of charge on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 601-540-2794 or email Colonel Allen McDaniel at amcdaniel@ngams.org.

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MDAH Receives $458K NEH Grant for State History, Civil Rights Museums

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $458,007 grant to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) from the Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) program. The SHARP grant was created to help cultural and educational institutions recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. Funding for this grant is used to retain and rehire workers, as well as reopen sites, facilities, and programs.

“The American Rescue Plan recognizes that the cultural and educational sectors are essential components of the United States economy and civic life, vital to the health and resilience of American communities,” said NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. “These new grants will provide a lifeline to the country’s colleges and universities, museums, libraries, archives, historical sites and societies, save thousands of jobs in the humanities placed at risk by the pandemic, and help bring economic recovery to cultural and educational institutions and those they serve.”

MDAH plans to use the funding from the SHARP grant to cover operating cost at the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum as well as expand its digital engagement initiative.

“We are grateful to our state’s congressional delegation and the Mississippi Humanities Council for their help and support during the pandemic,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “These funds will help us expand our public programs and outreach as we emerge from covid.”

The Museum of Mississippi History opened alongside the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in 2017 to celebrate the state's bicentennial. The Museum of Mississippi History explores the entire sweep of the state's history. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum explores the period from 1945 to 1976, when Mississippi was ground zero for the Civil Rights Movement nationally. The Two Mississippi Museums are administered by MDAH.

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State History, Civil Rights Museums Celebrate Birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer, Offer Free Admission

Civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer was born October 6, 1917. In honor of Hamer’s birthday, admission to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will be free on Wednesday, October 6. Admission will also include the PBS FRONTLINE special exhibit Un(re)solved: A Multiplatform Investigation. Museum staff will highlight Hamer’s life and legacy through guided tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

“Tenacity, inspiration and 'never give up' are words and phrases that Fannie Lou Hamer lived by. Her fortitude and strength brought about change for all mankind,” said Pamela D.C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “In honor of her birthday, October 6, we will be offering free admission. Come out and learn about the life of this woman who not only changed Mississippi, but changed the world. May we all live as she did by being and showing examples of good stewardship in our communities.” 

Born in 1917 in Montgomery County, Hamer worked for most of her life as a sharecropper. In 1962, she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and encouraged African Americans to register to vote. Hamer was a founding member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which challenged the seating of the regular party’s all-white delegation. 

Hamer’s powerful testimony to the credentials committee during the 1964 Democratic National Convention is featured in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The MFDP challenge forced the Democratic Party to eventually embrace diversity and forever changed American politics. 

On Thursday, October 7, at 6 p.m., the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will present a free sneak peek of the PBS FRONTLINE documentary American Reckoning featuring a conversation with co-directors Brad Lichtenstein and Yoruba Richen. Ronnie Agnew of Mississippi Public Broadcasting will moderate the discussion. Visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Facebook page for more information about the event.  

Safety precautions at the museums include requiring all visitors to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. Masks are available on-site. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museums is free on Sundays. 

The museums are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov

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