MDAH News

MDAH Museums & Library Schedule Beginning Tuesday, July 7

On Tuesday, July 7, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) will reopen the Eudora Welty House & Garden, Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson, and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in Natchez.

COVID safety precautions at each site will include requiring all visitors to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. Masks will be available on-site. All public spaces have been sanitized, and thorough cleaning will continue every day. Staff will be on-site to ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained. 

A list of sites and their hours is below. 

Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
222 North Street, Jackson

Hours are Tuesday–Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at tickets.mdah.ms.gov. Due to safety precautions for COVID-19, the maximum number of people per group is twenty. Groups must follow social distancing guidelines and remain six feet apart from all guests, including each other. 


Eudora Welty House & Garden

Hours are Tuesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., with tours at 9 and 11 a.m., and 1 and 3 p.m. Tours will be by reservation only. Due to safety precautions for COVID-19 the maximum capacity is two guests per tour. To make a reservation, call 601-353-7762 or email tours@eudoraweltyhouse.com.


State Archives Library 

Hours are Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Appointments are recommended for research in the Archival and Media Reading Rooms. Available appointment times are 9–11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., and 2–4 p.m. Call 601-576-6837 during working hours to schedule a time. Patrons without an appointment will be accommodated as space allows.


Grand Village of the Natchez Indians

Hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Due to safety precautions for COVID-19, the maximum capacity for the Visitor Center is fifteen visitors at one time. Admission is free.
 

Retirement of the Former Mississippi State Flag

On June 30, 2020, Governor Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1796, which establishes a commission to redesign the Mississippi state flag. According to the legislation, the removal of the former official state flag shall take place not later than fifteen days from the effective date of this act.

On Wednesday, July 1, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn presented MDAH with the last flags to fly over the state capitol. The flags will be added to the permanent collection.

The Mississippi Code does not provide guidelines for flag retirement ceremonies, but according to Mississippi Code Section 3-3-15, “The state flag shall receive all of the respect and ceremonious etiquette given the American flag.”

Organizations that receive flags for dignified and respectful removal include local fire departments, American Legion posts, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, and the Boy Scouts of America. In some cases, local history museums may accept donations of flags.

Step Back in Time at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians Through New Virtual Reality App

Have you stood on the grounds of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and wondered what the site might have looked like hundreds of years ago? A new application developed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) and TimeLooper lets viewers virtually experience the Grand Village as it appeared in 1730.

“There are many exciting developments ongoing at the Grand Village,” said Lance Harris, director of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.  “From recent archival and archaeological research, we will be able to expand the interpretation of the site in ways never imagined before. I am excited that we will be able to share the history and culture of the Natchez people in this state-of-the-art experience.”

Structures in the virtual reality experience were created using archaeological findings and descriptions written by French colonists who observed the Natchez ceremonial mound site when it was occupied. The free TimeLooper app, available on Apple or Google allows viewers to see a representation of the home of the Great Sun, the hereditary chief of the Natchez, which the French described as the largest house in the Grand Village.

The application shows the Temple Mound, the sacred place where the Natchez leaders conducted important ceremonies and people brought offerings of food to honor their ancestors. Viewers can also see the large wooden birds that topped the roof of the temple, which French colonists described in their accounts.

Information about the 1729–¬1730 Natchez war with the French, the Old Temple Mound, other Natchez structures, and the ceremonies that took place on the central plaza are also featured in the application.

This experience is available to users at no cost. The TimeLooper app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“This application presents us with a fresh way to share the important story of the Natchez Indians with more people around the world,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “I am thankful for the good work of our staff and TimeLooper for creating this free and accessible product.”

The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, administered by MDAH, contains three prehistoric Native American mounds and a museum. The Natchez Indians inhabited the site as early as AD 1200. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and opened as a museum in 1976. Learn more about the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians here.

“We were thrilled to collaborate with MDAH to transport people back to 1730 and enable users to visualize the scale and beauty of Village community,” said Andrew Feinberg, a Principal and Founder of TimeLooper. “It has been wonderful to see MDAH take the lead in enhancing the immersion and accessibility of the Grand Village site, particularly in these challenging times when visiting historic sites is problematic.” 

About TimeLooper 

TimeLooper is an experiential design firm serving public lands, historic sites, museums, and educational institutions. TimeLooper’s goal is to bring history and science to life through the development and deployment of immersive and interactive experiences that not only teach, but inspire. TimeLooper is dedicated to enhancing the accessibility and experiential quality of all institutions in the name of cultural understanding and education. www.timelooper.com

Press Contacts:

TimeLooper                            
Andrew Feinberg                        
andrew@timelooper.com                    
(212) 873-2677
 

Tags

MDAH To Reopen Museums & Library in July

On Tuesday, July 7, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) will reopen the Eudora Welty House & Garden, Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson, and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in Natchez.

“We are excited to reopen our museums and welcome the public at this historic moment. As our nation deals with COVID-19, economic hardship, and the legacy of racial injustice, MDAH has an ever more important role to play,” said Reuben Anderson, president of the MDAH Board of Trustees. “Our archives and museums document and teach about epidemics, recessions, and other crises in our past that we have overcome together. They also teach about the history of racial injustice in America from the days of slavery through the Civil Rights Movement.”

Anderson continued, “By helping build a shared understanding of our history, we are strengthening our resolve, uniting our people, and paving the way for a brighter future together.”

In a continuing effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, each site will limit the number of visitors inside. Visitors will be required to wear masks, and masks will be available on site. All the public spaces have been sanitized, and thorough cleaning will continue every day. Staff will be on site to ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online to the Eudora Welty House & Garden, Museum of Mississippi History, and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

“We are especially eager to welcome visitors to our brand new exhibit at the Two Mississippi Museums—Mississippi Distilled—which explores our state’s tumultuous relationship with alcohol,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “As soon as it is safe to gather in larger numbers, we will celebrate this exhibit with a series of public events.”

The popular Wednesday noon lecture series History Is Lunch continues online—viewers will find the programs on the MDAH Facebook page.

For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov.

Eudora Welty House Launches New Website

The Eudora Welty House & Garden has launched a new website that allows visitors to experience the home of the Pulitzer Prize–winning author online. The website features educational resources for students and teachers, photographs of the home, a calendar of upcoming events, and a bloom calendar of Welty’s historic botanical garden.

“Gardening was a creative outlet for Welty, who mentions more than 150 kinds of plants in her stories,” said Lauren Rhoades, director of the Eudora Welty House & Garden. “We are pleased that the website also highlights the important bond that Welty and her mother, Chestina Andrews Welty, formed while working together in the garden.”

The website provides links to free resources for teachers and students to develop a deeper appreciation for Welty’s life and works. Visitors can learn about Welty's life and writings, as well as the MDAH Eudora Welty Collection, one of the most varied literary collections in the United States. Teachers can access learning tools geared for the classroom through the Eudora Welty Foundation.

From online events to film screenings and live music on the lawn, visitors have access to a calendar of Welty House events on the new website. Currently, staff are leading a “Welty at Home” book club around Welty’s Losing Battles, with live virtual discussions that take place each Wednesday through June.

The website’s bloom calendar informs visitors of the heirloom plants blossoming in Welty’s garden throughout the year. The garden, designed by Chestina in 1925, mixes annuals, perennials, and bulbs in borders—not beds—creating distinct “rooms” to enjoy. The bloom calendar includes lively photographs of the garden, which is one of only two public botanical gardens in Mississippi.

“Thanks to the generosity of Eudora Welty and her family, MDAH holds a comprehensive collection that offers a full picture of the life, work, and creative experience of one of the world’s great writers,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “This new website offers an attractive and user-friendly portal to Welty’s life, literary accomplishments, house, and garden. We are thrilled to welcome the public to the new website today, and we look forward to reopening the site as soon as it’s safe.”

Visit the new website for the Welty House & Garden at eudoraweltyhouse.com.

Mississippi Justice: Then and Now

At noon on Wednesday, June 10, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Wilma Mosley Clopton will present “Mississippi Justice: Then and Now.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and uploaded to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

The program will feature a screening of Clopton’s new film Mississippi Justice, which examines a 1951 murder in Pike County. “Hattie Lee Barnes was a twenty-year-old African American who shot and killed a white male from a prominent family,” said Clopton. The film draws on trial records and interviews to depict the case’s twists and turns.

In less than three weeks after the shooting Barnes was indicted, entered a not guilty plea, and was on trial for murder. Joe Pigott, PIke County’s newest and most inexperienced public defender, was appointed as Barnes’s attorney. “According to our research the courtroom was overflowing with onlookers, and the spite and anger for Ms. Barnes was obvious,” said Clopton. “That same spite and anger was equally as obvious for Mr. Pigott as he defended this black woman who killed a respected member of the white community.”

Following the screening Clopton will be joined in a panel discussion by Pauline Rogers, co-founder and president of Reaching and Educating for Community Hope, and Regina Quinn, a partner in the May Law Firm, PLLC.

Production of the film Mississippi Justice was made possible by contributions from the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc., the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, One Voice, the Jackson Branch of the NAACP, and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Wilma Mosley Clopton is a graduate of the University of Mississippi Filmmaking Workshop and the Barefoot Filmmakers Workshop. Her body of work to date includes twelve short films, four books, one play, and the Margaret Walker Alexander coloring book for children. Clopton is the recipient of the 2011 Mississippi Humanities Council Educator Award, the 2014 Mississippi Arts Commission Media Fellowship Award, the 2013 and 2015 Mississippi Film and Video Alliance’s “Emerging Filmmaker Award.” Her work has been recognized by the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, the Mississippi Historical Society, and Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc.

History Is Lunch is broadcast from the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email cgoodwin@mdah.ms.gov.

The Delta and Dockery Farms

At noon on Wednesday, June 17, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, William C. Lester will present “The Delta and Dockery.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and added to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

Dockery Plantation was a 25,600-acre cotton plantation and sawmill on the Sunflower River between Ruleville and Cleveland. It is widely regarded as the place where Delta blues music was born.

“They say the Delta starts in the Peabody in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg,” said Lester. “Over 100 miles long and 50 miles wide, an alluvial flood plain of the Mississippi River untold years in the making, on that flood plain swamp lived many different people and their families. And the stories of those families that tamed the swamp into one of the most productive farmlands in the world is the story of the Delta.”

Lester is executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation, whose mission is to preserve the historic property and heritage of Dockery Farms and to develop these for educational purposes and the public interest in music, agriculture, and the history of the Mississippi Delta.

William C. Lester was born in Memphis. He earned a BA and MFA from the University of Mississippi. From 1974 to 2008 he worked in the art department of Delta State University, serving as chair from 2004 to 2008. He has been executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation since 2004.

History Is Lunch is broadcast from the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email cgoodwin@mdah.ms.gov.

Teona Williams Named 2020 Evers Scholar

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute have named Teona Williams, a doctoral candidate at Yale University, the 2020 Medgar and Myrlie Evers Research Scholar. Williams’s research covers African American tenant farmers and civil rights activists who advocated for land cooperatives from the 1930s through the 1980s.

While at the Mississippi state archives, Williams will use the papers of Medgar and Myrlie Evers to understand how the NAACP advocated for black sharecroppers across the Delta, materials on the Republic of New Africa (RNA), Emergency Land Fund ephemera, and the Tougaloo College Civil Rights Collection.

“I eagerly await the opportunity to explore the Jackson Advocate and other associated material of the RNA to document the multiple strands of land ideology that sprouted out of black nationalists movements,” said Williams. “I am excited to explore the Medgar Evers papers to understand how the NAACP advocated for black sharecroppers across the Delta.”

Williams graduated with a BA in environmental studies and history from Bowdoin College. She holds an MA from the University of Michigan, and she is currently at work on a PhD in the Department of History at Yale University. Her dissertation follows the wide network of Delta farmers and civil rights activists and their collective struggle to establish land cooperatives.

Williams will use the $4,000 award to cover travel, housing, and other expenses while doing primary research at MDAH.

“We’re delighted to partner with the Evers Institute on this scholarship,” said David Pilcher, director of the MDAH Archives and Record Services Division. “Our goal is to facilitate new and exciting research using the tremendous resources here at the state archives.”

The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Research Scholars Program, a collaboration between MDAH and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, encourages work in the history of civil and human rights using the state archives’ holdings to publish original research.

The Evers Papers may be accessed at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson. For more information on the Evers Scholar program or about the Evers Papers, contact Laura Heller at lheller@mdah.ms.gov.

Categories

MDAH Sites to Close until Further Notice

Based on information provided by the Mississippi Department of Health about the coronavirus pandemic, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will close all sites beginning Friday, March 13. The Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Eudora Welty House and Garden, Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building, and Charlotte Capers Building in Jackson, Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in Natchez, and Winterville Mounds near Greenville will all close until further notice.

All public events at MDAH sites through the end of May have been postponed, including the weekly History Is Lunch program and the Mississippi Freedom Seder event on April 2, at the Two Mississippi Museums. The New Stage Theater event at the Old Capitol Museum on March 31, and the Powwow at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians on March 28, have also been postponed.

For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov or call 601-576-6822.

Volunteer

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


Volunteer