Museums

Former Governor William F. Winter, Champion of History, Dies

William F. Winter led the MDAH Board of Trustees for nearly fifty years, making an unmistakable impact on the department and the state.

Winter’s greatest legacy at MDAH was the opening of the Two Mississippi Museums in 2017. Winter helped convince state leaders of the need to build the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and he was instrumental in securing public and private funds for the project. MDAH director Katie Blount said, “These museums stand at the intersection of William Winter’s greatest passions—history, education, and racial justice. Generations of young people will come here to experience the stories that have shaped our state and nation.”

As Winter said during the opening ceremony, “These museums will challenge all of us to have a better understanding of where we have come from, and then inspire us to work harder to find our common ideals and goals. We will find that we have much more in common than what might appear to divide us.”

William Winter joined the MDAH board in 1957, was elected president in 1969, and served in that role until 2007. During that time, he oversaw the opening of the Eudora Welty House, the restoration of the Old Capitol, and the construction of a state-of-the-art archives building that the state legislature named for him. 

Reuben V. Anderson, president of the MDAH Board of Trustees, recalled, “With his encouragement, MDAH strengthened its focus on African American history in Mississippi, acquiring significant collections of papers, mounting award-winning exhibits, and offering grants for the preservation of sites associated with African American history. Most notably, his close friendship with Myrlie Evers led to her decision to donate the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Collection to MDAH in 2002.”

According to the official obituary, memorial contributions can be made to the Foundation for Mississippi History. Gov. Winter was the leading force behind the opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. His goal was for every Mississippi student to visit these museums at least once. Over the last years of his life, Winter helped raise funds to endow field trips to both museums for schools with limited resources. With his help the Foundation for Mississippi History has raised half of the $4 million endowment to make this possible. Contributions in Winter’s memory can be made to the William Winter Education Fund, FMH, P.O. Box 571, Jackson, MS 39205.

A memorial service will be held once the dangers from COVID-19 abate and it is safe to gather for a service. Condolences to the Winter family may be mailed to P.O. Box 427, Jackson, MS 39205.

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Holiday Hours at MDAH Sites

Holiday HoursMuseum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

The Possum Ridge model train exhibit will be on display at the Two Mississippi Museums through December. Regular museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. The museums are open free of charge on Sundays from noon–4 p.m. Safety precautions at museums include requiring all visitors to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. The museums will close ThursdayFriday, December 2425, for Christmas and Friday, January 1, for New Year's Day.

Eudora Welty House & Garden

Eudora Welty House & Garden tours take place 9 & 11 a.m. and 1 & 3 p.m., Tuesday–Friday, and 1 & 3 p.m. on Saturday. Purchase tickets by phone at 601-353-7762 or by email info@eudoraweltyhouse.com. The museum will close ThursdayFridayDecember 2425, for Christmas and Friday, January 1, for New Year's Day.

William F. Winter Archives and History Building

The state archives will close November 26–28, December 24–December 26, and December 31–January 1. Due to safety precautions for COVID-19, the reading rooms at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building will be open Monday–Saturday, 8:15 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Appointments are recommended. and available times are 8:15–10:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Call 601-576-6837 to schedule your time. Patrons without an appointment will be accommodated as space allows.

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

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MDAH Museums & Library Are Open

On Tuesday, July 7, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) reopened 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 include requiring all visitors to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. Masks are available on-site. All public spaces have been sanitized, and thorough cleaning will continue every day. Staff are 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 weekday 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.

The library will reopen on Saturdays beginning August 1, 2020. Saturday hours will be 8:15 a.m.–12:45 p.m.  Appointment times for Saturdays are  8:15–10:15 a.m. and  10:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.


Grand Village of the Natchez Indians

Hours are Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, 1:30–5 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.

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.

This Week’s Featured History is Lunch: Cat Island

This week, we are highlighting a 2018 History Is Lunch presentation by John Cuevas and photographer Jason Taylor entitled "Discovering Cat Island: Photographs and History."

A barrier island in the Mississippi Sound, Cat Island was originally owned by the Cuevas family as part of a 1781 Spanish land grant. The site’s history includes stories of pirate treasure, the Battle of New Orleans, the Trail of Tears, and Prohibition. Lieutenant governor (then secretary of state) Delbert Hosemann introduced the program.

Watch the program on YouTube
 

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