2 Miss. museums to take on its turbulent history
In this Oct. 11, 2013 photograph, Cindy Gardner, Director of Collections and Museum Division Project Manager, for the Museum of Mississippi History at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History shows off a Confederate battle flag and era painting that will be among the items that will eventually be displayed in the state history museum that will be built along side a museum documenting civil rights in the state, in Jackson, Miss. The two museums will have more than 200,000 square feet combined and are to be built not far from the Capitol in Jackson. The state has committed $40 million to the museums, and Hank Holmes said officials are trying to raise $14 million in private donations. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi breaks ground Thursday on side-by-side museums that are expected to break ground of their own in how they depict the Southern state once rocked by racial turmoil, one promising a frank focus on civil rights and the other a sweep of history from pre-European settlements to Elvis Presley and more.
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History — two museums under the same roof— are scheduled to open in Jackson in 2017, the state's bicentennial.
Hank Holmes, director of the state Department of Archives and History, said the exhibits won't minimize the parts of the past that some might consider embarrassing or uncomfortable.
In this Oct. 11, 2013 photograph, the trophy Mary Ann Mobley was awarded in 1959 when she was crowned Miss America, rests on shelves that hold other items documenting Mississippi's long history in Jackson, Miss. Many of the items currently in storage will find a home in one of the state's planned new museums. Officials say they did not set out to have separate-but-equal museums for the documentation of the state's history, but it could end up that way. Mississippi breaks ground Thursday. Oct. 24, 2013, on side-by-side museums that are expected to break ground of their own in how they depict the Southern state once rocked by racial turmoil. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
"There is no sugar coating," Holmes said.
The two museums will have more than 200,000 square feet combined and are to be built not far from the Capitol in Jackson. The state has committed $40 million, and Holmes said officials are trying to raise $14 million in private donations.
The civil rights museum, focusing on 1945-70, will display the rifle that a white supremacist used in 1963 to kill Medgar Evers, the Mississippi NAACP leader whose slaying helped propel the struggle for equality to national attention. The rifle has been on temporary display the past few months at the state archives building, next door to the future museums' site, as part of an exhibit commemorating Evers' legacy and the 50th anniversary of his death.