The Two Mississippi Museums in downtown Jackson is set to offer free admission on Tuesday, February 21 in honor of former Governor William F. Winter’s legacy.
Winter, who passed away at the age of 97 in December 2020, served as Mississippi’s 58th governor from 1980-1984. He was later appointed to President Bill Clinton’s National Advisory Board on Race.
The Grenada native’s greatest legacy, according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), was convincing state leaders of the need to open the Two Mississippi Museums in 2017. He was also instrumental in attaining the necessary funds to go on with the project.
During the opening ceremony at the museums, 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.”
Now, three years after his passing, the two museums will offer free admission to all attendees for one day.
“On this day, which would have been our father’s 100th birthday, we can think of no greater way to celebrate his life,” his daughter, Eleanor Winter, said. “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.”
Winter served on the MDAH Board of Trustees for more than 50 years and held the position of president for nearly his entire time on the board.
“All Mississippians should have the opportunity to experience the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum,” MDAH Director Katie Blount said. “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.”
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.