Museum of Mississippi History

Margaret Burnham, Jerry Mitchell to Speak at State History, Civil Rights Museums therron Fri, 10/15/2021 - 14:44

On Tuesday, October 19, The Two Mississippi Museums will host Un(re)solved: Conversation with Jerry Mitchell and Margaret Burnham to discuss the civil rights cold cases highlighted in Un(re)solved—the PBS Frontline traveling augmented-reality exhibit at the Two Mississippi Museums. The event will start at noon and is free and open to the public. It will also be live streamed via the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Facebook page. Margaret Burnham is the founder and director of Northeastern University School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJP), and Jerry Mitchell is a renowned investigative reporter. 

Margaret Burnham and the CRRJP investigate racial violence in the Jim Crow era and other historical failures of the criminal justice system, including Franklin County Mississippi law enforcement officials accused of assisting Klansmen in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Henry Dee and Charles Eddie Moore in 1964. Burnham is lead advisor for Un(re)solved, and her investigations are featured in the documentary American Reckoning.   

Jerry Mitchell has been investigating civil rights-era crimes for more than thirty years and he is the founder of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. Mitchell’s reporting helped lead to convictions in cases such as the 1963 assassination of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers, the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Mitchell served on the advisory council that helped guide the development of the Unresolved project.    

Un(re)solved, PBS Frontline’s traveling augmented-reality exhibit, is now open at the Two Mississippi Museums and will run through October 24. Drawing on more than two years of reporting, thousands of documents, and dozens of first-hand interviews with family members—as well as current and former Justice Department and FBI officials, state and local law enforcement, lawmakers, civil rights leaders and investigative journalists—the multi-platform exhibit examines the federal government’s effort to investigate more than 150 civil rights-era cold cases through the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.   

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Trick or Treat at the Two Mississippi Museums therron Wed, 10/13/2021 - 15:51

Join us for Trick or Treat at the Two Mississippi Museums on Saturday, October 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Discover mysteries from Mississippi's past with our scavenger hunt, trick or treat, and craft stations placed throughout the building for spirited holiday fun. Children are invited to participate in our “Two Mississippi Museums Monster March” Halloween costume parade at 11 a.m. Admission to the museums is free during the event.

MDAH Receives $458K NEH Grant for State History, Civil Rights Museums therron Mon, 10/11/2021 - 08:38

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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Quilting: A Legacy of Storytelling therron Mon, 10/04/2021 - 15:09

Join us on Tuesday, October 12, at the Two Mississippi Museums for an exploration of quilting and storytelling with curator Mary Lohrenz and quilter Tammy McGrew. Inspired by the artwork in the Un(re)solved exhibit, Lohrenz will discuss master quilter Hystercine Rankin’s influence on narrative quilting today, and McGrew will discuss the quilting process and techniques.

State History, Civil Rights Museums Celebrate Birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer, Offer Free Admission therron Mon, 10/04/2021 - 13:44

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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Un(re)solved Opens at the Civil Rights, State History Museums

PBS Frontline’s traveling augmented-reality exhibit Un(re)solved will open Saturday, August 28, at the Two Mississippi Museums. The opening date will align with the commemoration of the death of Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955.

“Sixty-six years ago, an innocent fourteen-year-old boy was murdered, and justice never prevailed,” said Pamela D. C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “I think it is especially fitting that FRONTLINE’s new traveling exhibit begins its journey at the Two Mississippi Museums where we remember the people who sacrificed so much for freedom and equality.”

Drawing on more than two years of reporting, thousands of documents, and dozens of firsthand interviews, the multi-platform exhibit examines the federal government’s effort to investigate more than 150 civil rights era cold cases under the authority of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act (Till Act).

Un(re)solved tells the stories of the people on the Till Act list—voting rights advocates, veterans, business owners, mothers, fathers, and children—and the families still seeking justice today.

Un(re)solved’s advisory council includes Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter and founder of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. Mitchell’s reporting helped lead to convictions in cases such as the 1963 assassination of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers, the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

Other members of the Un(re)solved advisory council include Margaret Burnham, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University; Jelani Cobb, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism; Rhea Combs, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery; Leslie Fields-Cruz, Black Public Media; Hank Klibanoff, Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University; Stanley Nelson, Firelight Media; Ron Nixon, The Associated Press; and Lisa Osborne, Black Public Media.

“We are proud to use the multiplatform, investigative journalism in Un(re)solved as a way to shine a light on these individuals and their families and their quests for justice, and to contribute to the national conversation surrounding the reckoning on racism in America,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, FRONTLINE executive producer.

The project consists of a web-based interactive experience, serialized podcast, a touring augmented-reality exhibit, as well as a documentary and companion education curriculum for high schools and universities.

The exhibit will run from Saturday, August 28, through Sunday, October 24, in the FedEx and Medgar and Myrlie Evers Exhibition Halls at the Two Mississippi Museums. Fifteen-minute tours will be available Tuesday–Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $8 for youth ages 4–22. Discounts are available for students, seniors, active duty military, veterans, and groups of ten or more. Admission for children under the age of three is free. Ticket price includes admission to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Museum of Mississippi History, and all special exhibitions. Admission on Sunday is also free.

Museum hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

FRONTLINE is U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series known for exploring the issues of the times through powerful reporting and storytelling. FRONTLINE is produced by GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS.

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Many Stories Series: Sharecropping in Mississippi therron Tue, 08/03/2021 - 11:25

Join us for a panel discussion on the forgotten history of sharecropping in Mississippi featuring Michael Coleman of the Piney Woods Country Life School and guest panelists Hilliard Lackey and Cassie Sade Turnipseed of Jackson State University. This edition of the #ManyStories series will st

Nissan Café by Nick Wallace Opens at State History, Civil Rights Museums

The new Nissan Café by Nick Wallace Culinary is now open at the Two Mississippi Museums. Spearheaded by executive chef Nick Wallace, the new café offers a wide assortment of Southern and French inspired cuisine to museum visitors during breakfast and lunch hours Tuesdays through Sundays in the Nancy and Ray Neilsen Hall of History. 

“We are excited to have Nick Wallace Culinary at the Two Mississippi Museums,” said Katie Blount, MDAH director. “Chef Wallace has a commitment to healthy, fresh food that is inspired by history and flavors of the South. He also brings welcome energy, vision, and new ideas. But most importantly, he’s a great cook, and we love his food."

A native of Edwards, signature chef Nick Wallace acquired his culinary talents from his grandmothers, Lennel Donald and Queen Morris, who both practiced Southern home- cooking with farm-rooted family recipes. Named Mississippi’s Best Chef of 2020 and a member of the Best Chefs America, Wallace is renowned for his Mississippi-fashioned “farm to table” cooking method using garden-fresh locally grown produce and made- from-scratch ingredients in his cuisine blended with a unique classical French style. He has been featured on several international culinary competitions on the Cooking Channel and Food Network and won the Food Network’s Chopped: Alton’s Challenge in 2017 and their Fire Masters television series title in April 2021. He has also been published in cultural and culinary magazines such as Southern Living.

Chef Wallace served as a chef at the James Beard House in New York City and previously served as the executive chef at the King Edward Hotel and Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson. In addition to his restaurant business Nick Wallace Culinary, Wallace also operates his non-profit organization Creativity Kitchen, which provides healthier food selections for students in Jackson Public Schools and assists with other charity ministries in the community through food partnerships and cooking workshops.

The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—Two Mississippi Museums—are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. Café hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov.

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R.E.A.D. (Read, Engage, and Discover)

Children and parents are invited to the R.E.A.D. (Read, Engage, and Discover) summer enrichment program at the Two Mississippi Museums on Friday, July 30, at 11 a.m. This final edition will feature local hip hop artist Dear Silas reading Michael Mahin’s Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters. Children will engage in a hands-on activity following the reading. This event is free and will be held in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium. Face masks and social distancing guidelines are required.

Nissan Foundation Donates $30,000 for Field Trips to State History, Civil Rights Museums

The Nissan Foundation has donated $30,000 to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to underwrite field trips to the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum for the upcoming school year.    

"We are grateful to the Nissan Foundation for their support of our field trip program,” said Katie Blount, director of MDAH. “School children are the most important people we serve. The foundation’s generosity will help us reach our goal for every student in the state to visit the Two Mississippi Museums at least once.”

“For nearly 30 years, the Nissan Foundation has been committed to amplifying the efforts of nonprofit organizations doing the important work of sharing diverse cultural perspectives and experiences with communities across the country,” said Parul Bajaj, senior manager, Nissan Philanthropy. “At perhaps no other time in recent history has the work of Two Mississippi Museums been so critical. We are proud to support their efforts to inspire people to embrace the value of our differences.”

The funds will be used to defray costs such as admission, travel, and on-site lunches for students. To reserve or learn more about field trips at the Two Mississippi Museums, contact Stephanie King, field trips coordinator, at sking@mdah.ms.gov.

Two Mississippi Museums hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. The museums are open free of charge on Sundays from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and 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 Greater Jackson area. The facility employs more than 5,500 people who build the Nissan Altima, Frontier, TITAN and TITAN XD, NV Cargo and NV Passenger vehicles.

Image cutline: Pictured are MDAH board member Helen Moss Smith, Nissan Philanthropy senior manager Parul Bajaj, MDAH board member Nancy Carpenter, MDAH director Katie Blount, MDAH board members Hilda Cope Povall, Betsey Hamilton, and Web Heidelburg, and outgoing MDAH board president Judge Reuben V. Anderson.

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