3 on the Road: Two Museums - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 on the Road: Two Museums

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

The new Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in downtown Jackson has been a sizable investment of not only dollars but time.

That investment in time that culminated in the Museum of Mississippi History really started over a century ago when the Mississippi Department of Archives and History was established. Here’s how we got to where we are today.

The “archives” the Department of Archives and History was organized to protect has jumped around from the Old Capitol to the New Capitol to the War Memorial Building to a home all its own, the Charlotte Capers Archives Building, which it promptly outgrew. Artifacts also had been housed in the Old Capitol Museum until Hurricane Katrina tore the roof off the place.

But the new William Winter Archives and History Building was under construction and had been scheduled to open in the agency's 100th birth year, 2002. And it almost made it. But when it did, the archive papers and documents and photographs were housed here.

But by now the old History Museum, the Old Capitol, had been rebuilt and repurposed as a museum into and unto itself. So there needed to be a new history museum for the artifacts. But by then, there was talk of the need for another museum.

"Meanwhile, Governor Haley Barbour had initiated an effort in the private sector to build and Civil Rights Museum," said Mississippi Department of Archives and History Director Katie Blount. "In 2010 some members of our board of trustees and Haley Barbour together came up with the idea of combining these museums under the Department of Archives and History in Downtown Jackson."

And this weekend, both museums will be open, on the state’s 200th birthday. This is a stellar project and quite an investment on many levels.

"These two museums, The Museum of Mississippi History covers the entire sweep of our state’s history from the earliest times to the present and the Civil Rights Museum puts a closer focus on the era 1945 to 1975 when Mississippi really was ground zero for the Civil Rights movement nationwide," added Blount.

The two museums give Mississippi the chance to tell our own story. Nothing held back, nothing glossed over.

"We’ve built these two museums together and we’re very proud of it and I think that’s a very powerful and positive message for Mississippi to share with the world on the occasion of our bicentennial," said Blount.

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