Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Two Mississippi Museums Free on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Memory of Mississippi Governor William Winter on His 100th Birthday

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Two Mississippi Museums in December 2017, former Governor William F. Winter declared, “These two museums were built for all of us, but most especially they were built for our children and our grandchildren and future generations.” His dream was that every Mississippi student would visit these museums at least once.  

Winter would have turned 100 on Tuesday, February 21. To honor his legacy, the Two Mississippi Museums will be free to the public on that day. This day of free admission is made possible by Jones Walker LLP, which acquired Watkins, Ludlam, Winter and Stennis where Governor Winter worked for over 50 years. 

“Governor Winter had a such a profound impact on the people of Mississippi and our nation. We are pleased that more people will have access to the museum on the day of his birthday. This is the perfect way to honor Governor Winter’s legacy in such a meaningful and impactful way—the exact way he lived his life,” said Bill Hines, managing partner of Jones Walker LLP. 

Winter was known for his strong support for public education in Mississippi. He helped to raise endowment funds to bring Mississippi’s school children to the Two Mississippi Museums, or as he called them, “Mississippi’s largest classroom.” 

“On this day, which would have been our father’s 100th birthday, we can think of no greater way to celebrate his life,” said his daughter Eleanor Winter. “He and others worked for years to make these museums a reality. It would bring him the greatest pleasure to know that the doors are flung wide open on his birthday for all to explore and learn about our state’s history.”   

The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum stand at the intersection of Winter’s greatest passions—history, education, and racial justice—and he was the leading force behind the public/private partnership through which they were built.  

He believed the museums would, in his words, “challenge 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.” He believed that “we will find that we have much more in common than what might appear to divide us.”   

“All Mississippians should have the opportunity to experience the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH). “We are grateful to the Winter family and to Jones Walker for this wonderful tribute to Governor and Mrs. Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums.” 

Pamela D.C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums, said, “We hope you will visit us Tuesday, February 21, to honor this living memorial to Governor’s Winter’s life and work.”   

Winter served on the MDAH Board of Trustees for more than 50 years and was president for nearly that long. He died December 18, 2020, at the age of 97. Elise Winter, his wife of 70 years who was a community activist and author, died just six months after her husband on July 17, 2021.    

The William and Elise Winter Education Endowment was established by the Foundation for Mississippi History to memorialize Mississippi’s former governor and first lady and their commitment to education and preservation. Funds are used to defray costs such as admission, travel, and on-site lunches for students.   

For more information about free Tuesday, February 21, at the Two Mississippi Museums, email info@mdah.ms.gov, or call 601-576-6850. 

To learn more about school field trips to the Two Mississippi Museums or to make a field trip reservation visit https://2mm.mdah.ms.gov/learn/field-trips. 


The Fearless 11 Sunday Screening

The documentary The Fearless 11 will be shown at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 12, at the Two Mississippi Museums. The hour-long documentary showcases the experiences of eleven Black teens who integrated Provine High School in 1965. After the screening, there will be a time for a Q&A from the audience. For more information, call 601-576-6850, or email info@mdah.ms.gov. 


Family Days at the Two Mississippi Museums

Come visit the Two Mississippi Museums every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. in February for activities designed for our youngest visitors. In honor of Black History Month, families are invited to participate in hands-on art activities, guided gallery experiences, and opportunities for families to explore stories of Black Mississippians featured in both museums. Activities will take place in the FedEx Exhibition Hall. For more information, call 601-576-6850, or email info@mdah.ms.gov. 




FedEx to Sponsor Free MLK Weekend at the Two Mississippi Museums

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History will offer three days of free admission thanks to the support of FedEx. The museums will be free to the public in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Saturday, January 14, through Monday, January 16. 

 The Two Mississippi Museums will host MLK Night of Culture at 6 p.m. on Monday, January 16, in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson. This year’s theme, inspired by the Black Empowerment gallery in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, celebrates the unity and determination of Black Mississippians demanding their civil rights from 1965 to the mid-1970s, urged on by successes such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The evening will feature performances exploring how African Americans persevered through the turmoil of racial violence, and publicly demanded their rights as American citizens through boycotts, marches, and protests organized across Mississippi.   

 “FedEx is honored to celebrate the legacy and values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through our continued support of the Two Mississippi Museums,” said Rose Flenorl, manager of Global Citizenship at FedEx Services. "We are proud to help visitors connect with Dr. King’s legacy, and leave inspired to drive positive changes of their own.” 

 “We are grateful to FedEx for their continued support of our Martin Luther King Jr. celebration,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “Welcoming the public into the museums as guests of FedEx is a wonderful way to honor this important holiday.” 

 The Two Mississippi Museums will also host a food drive throughout the free weekend to benefit Stewpot Community Services located in Jackson. 

 Dr. King’s involvement in Mississippi included visiting Greenwood in support of Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964, testifying in support of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) during the 1964 Democratic National Convention, and continuing James Meredith’s March Against Fear following the assassination attempt against Meredith in 1966.  

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


MDAH Closures for Christmas and New Years

MDAH offices and archives library will be closed Friday, December 23 to Monday, December 26. All museum sites will close at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 24, and reopen on Tuesday, December 27.

The archives library will be closed on Saturday, December 31, and all museums will close at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 31, and reopen on Tuesday, January 3. MDAH offices will also be closed on Monday, January 2.

Visit www.mdah.ms.gov/explore-mississippi for more information about our one-of-a-kind museums, historical sites and cultural attractions throughout the state. Explore our wide ranging Digital Archives herehttps://da.mdah.ms.gov/.


Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Celebrate 5 Years

1 Mississippi. 2 Museums. 5 Years.

Since opening on December 9, 2017, more than half a million people have visited the Two Mississippi Museums – Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Join us December 9–11 for a free, fun party weekend to celebrate our fifth anniversary. 

“In celebrating this fifth anniversary, we acknowledge the wealth of opportunity and wisdom these museums give us,” said Pamela D.C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “More than 500,000 people have come together to listen, investigate, learn, and reflect on our Mississippi history. We look forward to continuing this journey with all of you, for many more years to come!"  

The celebration begins on Friday, December 9, with free admission and continues Saturday, December 10, with free admission, trackless train rides for children, live music, food trucks, and guided tours. Admission will also be free on Sunday, December 11, with a showing of The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The Mississippi Legislature funded construction of the $100 million Two Mississippi Museums along with generous support from private donors. A significant early contribution from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation was critical to attracting additional support from others.

“The Two Mississippi Museums preserve the painful stories and truths of our ancestors and are a testament to the deep resolve we have to healing our communities,” said Rhea Williams-Bishop, director of Mississippi and New Orleans programming for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. “We are excited to celebrate the museums’ anniversary and help ensure everyone can learn our rich and complex history.”

The anniversary celebration also will give visitors an opportunity to see the special exhibit The World of Marty Stuart before it closes on December 31. This exhibit includes hundreds of items never shown before in the state, including Marty's first guitar, original handwritten manuscripts by Hank Williams, guitars from Merle Haggard and Pops Staples, costumes from Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, personal items from Johnny Cash, including his first black performance suit, and much more.

The free weekend is sponsored by the Community Foundation for Mississippi through funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.


Two Mississippi 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 Thursday, November 10, on the Entergy Mississippi Plaza in front of the Two Mississippi Museums.

“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, recognition of Veterans Day by Sergeant First Class (Retired) Max Fenn—Chairman of Mississippi Veterans Affairs and tribute to fallen heroes by Major General Janson D. Boyles—the Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard. A memorial volley and wreath laying will follow. 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 are 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. Free parking is available in the Two Mississippi Museums parking garage, located behind the museums on Jefferson Street. 




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