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Two New Museums on the Way in Time for Mississippi Bicentennial

VIDEO: Jehu is a 218 year-old settler of Mississippi. He was kind enough to give school kids from across the state a history lesson Thursday.

JACKSON, Miss.–The Mississippi History Museum and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum have been decades in the works. Thursday’s groundbreaking for the 200,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art project marks the beginning of the construction phase, set to be done in December 2017, just in time for the 200 year birthday of the Magnolia State.

“The Museum of Mississippi History will tell the broad sweep of our state and our history and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will examine the struggles for equal rights and equal justice,” said Judge Reuben Anderson, the first African-American justice on the state Supreme Court and who serves on the Board of Trustees of the Miss. Dept. of Archives and History.

“This will be the first state-operated civil Rights museum in the nation,” he said.

Though the legislature has funded the building of the museum facilities, the exhibits are being put together with private funds and about $14 million is needed, with about $5 million being raised already through donations and grants from companies like Entergy, which was represented at the ceremony.

Dr. Leslie McLemore has been involved with the project and says the museums will bring scholars and lay people from all over the country to examine the state’s heritage and what it means to the history of the country and the world.

Dr. McLemore Talks about an unsung Civil Rights hero from Mississippi

“They will give voice to the voiceless in so many ways,” he said. “And the unsung sheroes and heroes of the movement. Let us hear from the people who were in the trenches, who fought the battle on a daily basis to change our state and our country.”

The economic impact of bringing thousands of people to Mississippi each year to visit the museums is becoming apparent to Gov. Phil Bryant, who cited the contributions of Medgar Evers as he shared the stage with former governors Winter, Musgrove and Barbour.

“The Miss. Development Authority tells me this will attract more than 180,000 visitors each year,” he said, “And have an impact of 17.1 million dollars.”

The museums will be located in the same building, just west of the Mississippi Coliseum and next to the Dept. of Archives and history in downtown Jackson. They are both set to feature state-of-the-art electronic exhibits and artifacts and will have classrooms and meeting facilities.

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