Museums

New NAGPRA Website Launched

Chickasaw_berriesThe Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) has created a new website that prioritizes the repatriation of human remains and cultural items in the department’s archaeological collection. The website will inform the public about the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and serve as a virtual platform for consultation with the department’s federally-recognized Tribal partners.

The website features NAGPRA collections updates, policies and procedures, and links to more information about the department’s Tribal partners. An interactive map shows the status of ongoing repatriations in Mississippi counties across the state. MDAH completed its first repatriation earlier this year.

The Choctaw Nation, Chickasaw Nation, and Muscogee (Creek) Nation generously provided images featured on the website. The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana provided additional content.

“Our goal is to engage the public in NAGPRA and to provide information about our collections in a way that hasn’t been done before,” says Meg Cook, director of archaeology collections. “The most important part is remembering that these remains are people, and their families want to see that they are reburied.”

The website will feature internship opportunities, Tribal stories, collections updates, and repatriation progress. For more information visit the website at http://nagpra.mdah.ms.gov/.

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Mississippi Governor’s Mansion Reopens for Tours April 1

On Thursday, April 1, the historic section of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion will reopen to the public for guided tours. Free guided tours will be offered Tuesday through Thursday at 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. Reservations are mandatory and must be made at least seventy-two hours in advance.

“After a long year filled with many challenges, we are so excited to resume tours at the Governor’s Mansion,” said First Lady Elee Reeves. “We look forward to seeing everyone who comes to visit Mississippi’s home! It is our hope that each of you will come learn more about this historic home, and grow to love it as much as we do.”

To make a reservation, email the curator at mansiontours@mdah.ms.gov or call 601-359-6421. As a precaution, a maximum of ten visitors per time slot will be allowed in the mansion and face coverings will be required.

The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, a National Historic Landmark, is administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. First occupied in 1842, the Governor's Mansion is the second-oldest continuously occupied governor's residence in the United States.

The Greek Revival building was designed by William Nichols, an English-born architect who also designed the Old Capitol. The mansion was renovated in 1908–09, then underwent a renovation and restoration in the 1970s that included the acquisition of appropriate antique furniture and accessories to furnish the historic interior.

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

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MDAH Completes Largest Repatriation of Native American Ancestors in State History

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) has transferred the remains of 403 Native Americans and eighty-three lots of burial objects to the Chickasaw Nation. This is the largest return of human remains in Mississippi history, and the first for MDAH.

"This repatriation is a huge milestone for our institution and our Tribal partners," said MDAH director Katie Blount. "We are committed to the repatriation of human remains and cultural objects in the department’s archaeological collections."

Since the nineteenth century, archaeological excavations have unearthed hundreds of the ancestral remains of people who once inhabited the state and whose cultures continue today. The passage of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) gave Native populations the right to claim ancestors and cultural objects in the care of institutions receiving federal funds.

Working closely with Tribal representatives and the National NAGPRA Program, the transfer of these human remains took place over the course of more than two years. MDAH sought guidance in preparing the remains for reburial, which will take place this year.

"The Chickasaw Nation has developed a strong working relationship with MDAH as a result of this repatriation," said Amber Hood, Director of Historic Preservation & Repatriation, The Chickasaw Nation. "Caring for our ancestors is extremely important to us, and we appreciate the dedication and transparency their staff has shown throughout the consultation process."

"It is important to remember that these are people, buried with items with strong cultural ties to their communities, the same way that people today might be laid to rest wearing a wedding band,"  said Meg Cook, MDAH director of archaeology collections. "While these artifacts inform the archaeological record, it is our ethical and legal obligation to see that they are returned."

MDAH is thankful for its volunteers, who hand sewed muslin bags that were used to carefully wrap each individual with their belongings. This material was purchased partly with funds from a National NAGRA Program grant.

For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov. Learn more about NAGPRA at  www.nps.gov/nagpra and nagpra.mdah.ms.gov.

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Equal Protection Under the Law: MUW v. Hogan

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, join us for a discussion of the local and national impact of the ground-breaking case Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan in 1982. This pivotal decision not only opened the door to admitting men to the first public women’s college in the United States, but also set an important precedent in future gender discrimination cases that led to the admission of women to the Virginia Military Institute in 1996. 

Nissan Sponsors Free Weekends at State History, Civil Rights Museums

Nissan Free WeekendsNissan is sponsoring free weekends to the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in February starting Saturday, February 6. The free admission to the museums will also include the special exhibits I AM A MAN: Civil Rights Photographs of the American South, 1960–1970 and Mississippi Distilled: Prohibition, Piety, and Politics.

“We are thankful to Nissan for their continued support,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “Their generosity allows us to invite the public to safely celebrate Black History Month at the Two Mississippi Museums.”

“Nissan is honored once again to welcome our neighbors across Mississippi to the State History and Civil Rights museums during Black History Month, said Parul Bajaj, senior manager, Nissan Philanthropy. “We remain committed to supporting initiatives that foster respect and greater civic spirit within our communities.”

Safety precautions at the museums 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. Hand sanitizing stations are provided and staff is on-site to ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained. A limited number of visitors are allowed inside the museums at one time.

Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at tickets.mdah.ms.gov. The maximum number of people per group is twenty. Regular museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. The museums are open free of charge on Sundays from 1–5 p.m.

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

Nissan in Mississippi

Since opening its doors in 2003, Nissan’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, has donated more than $18 million and worked more than 12,000 volunteer hours to support more than 200 nonprofit organizations in the Great Jackson area. The facility more than 5,500 who build the Nissan Altima, Frontier, TITAN and TITAN XD, NV Cargo and NV Passenger vehicles.

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


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