History lives and breathes in Mississippi. The state’s past brims with stories of fascinating people, vital movements, intriguing places, and unique events that have shaped American history. Visitors can explore these stories at a state-of-the-art museum campus in Jackson.
Known collectively as the Two Mississippi Museums, the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opened during the state’s bicentennial celebration in 2017. Since then, more than 600,000 visitors have explored the icons, artifacts, and events that have contributed to the unique culture that makes up Mississippi.
The Museum of Mississippi History serves as a time capsule showcasing interactive exhibits and hundreds of historic objects that illustrate over 15,000 years of state history, bringing the voices from the past to life. This museum explores Mississippi’s rich history through artifacts like the skirt of Mrs. Rhodie Bailey, a formerly enslaved person from Madison County, and a replica of Mount Helm Baptist Church —the oldest African American church in Jackson. A video clip explaining Reconstruction plays in an immersive setting that allows visitors to feel the history around them. At the end of the Museum of Mississippi History tour, a gallery called “Reflections” awaits visitors, where they are encouraged to share their own Mississippi story.
Mississippi is ground zero for the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. At the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the names and stories of everyday heroes who took courageous stands for justice and equality inspire visitors. Exhibits with artifacts—such as nails and glass shards recovered from church bombings and a rifle used to protect civil rights workers — give museum-goers an engaging and memorable experience. From the Freedom Riders to Fannie Lou Hamer to Medgar Evers, visitors gain insight into the harrowing challenges faced by those who took part in the movement.
A “This Little Light of Mine” sculpture found at the heart of the museum encourages visitors to sit and reflect on their visit. Images of iconic activists and the sounds of haunting gospel hymns encircle the gallery. The exhibits in this museum explore the inequality and brutality African Americans suffered during Jim Crow, while also shining light on the victories of the movement. Courageous people from Mississippi and the rest of the country transformed Mississippi, the South, and the United States.
Once called “Mississippi’s largest classroom” by the late Governor William Winter, the Two Mississippi Museums highlight the complex history of the state through stories told by real people who lived it. Visitors invariably walk away inspired and motivated to build a brighter future.
The Two Mississippi Museums are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. We offer special admission rates for groups of 10 or more and free admission for Mississippi school or faith-based groups. For more information, visit us at twomississippimuseums.com or call us at 601-576-6800.