HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has received $850,000 in commitments from Trustmark and Butler Snow for the 2 Mississippi Museums project. Trustmark's gift of $500,000 will sponsor the lobby and Community Room shared by the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History. Butler Snow's $350,000 donation will sponsor the opening gallery, "Mississippi's Freedom Struggle," in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
The announcement was made February 10 from the construction site of the museums in downtown Jackson.
"Being engaged in the communities we serve has been a corporate philosophy at Trustmark for 125 years," said Trustmark CEO Jerry Host. "The 2 Mississippi Museums will be an asset to our state, both culturally and economically, by providing an optimum place for education on our state's history, diversity and culture for Mississippi citizens and guests from around the world."
Since its founding in 1889, Trustmark has been an economic and civic leader in Mississippi. Trustmark associates participate in non-profit programs throughout their five-state market benefiting youth, civic, cultural enrichment, education, the arts, health, social services, and professional organizations.
"We're pleased to be able to make this contribution to honor those who strived for equality in Mississippi and to support the important mission of the museum," said Butler Snow chairman Don Clark. "This will be a significant landmark for our state and will serve as an educational resource for decades to come."
Butler Snow has been a leader in its field for sixty years and its foundation has given more than $1 million in community grants over the past 17 years to service organizations such as Mission First, Habitat for Humanity, Youth Life Learning Centers, Mississippi Episcopal AIDS Committee, and the Boys & Girls Club of the Gulf Coast.
"Mississippians need to know their history—the good parts and the bad parts—because we learn from our history," said former governor Haley Barbour. "We base our plans for the future on the experiences of the past. These museums will be places where we can teach about our state's history, about the things of which we ought to be very proud and the things we need to learn about so we don't commit those sins again. Mississippi is long past ready for that."
The lobby, called the Commons, will welcome visitors to the museums and serve as the entryway for the auditorium during special events. The Community Room will serve as meeting space for tour groups on daily basis as well as being available as a public meeting space.
Visible from the Commons, the Mississippi's Freedom Struggle gallery will introduce visitors to the story told in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum using visually projected portraits and quotes, tall graphic forms, and other images to give context for understanding race relations in Mississippi at the beginning of Reconstruction.
In 2011 Governor Haley Barbour worked with the Mississippi Legislature to fund the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The resulting legislation authorized construction of the museums and required MDAH match the public money with private dollars for exhibits. The Foundation for Mississippi History and Foundation for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are on target to meet the goal of $16 million—$12 million for the exhibits plus a $2 million endowment for each museum.
Since construction began in December 2013, all interior floors have been completed, work on the roof is near completion, and installation of the limestone façade has begun. Phase one includes the construction of a public parking garage and is expected to be completed in summer 2015. Phase two, interior construction, will last 18 months. The museums are scheduled to open in December 2017 as the centerpiece of the state's bicentennial celebration.