Jacqueline K. Dace has been selected as the project manager of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (MCRM). The nationwide search began in July and attracted more than one hundred applicants. The MCRM project manager will coordinate activities associated with the planning, construction, and opening of the museum. Dace will begin work December 1.
“I was very impressed with Ms. Dace’s experience and enthusiasm for our museum,” said Judge Fred Banks, chairman of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Advisory Commission. “I think that she will do an excellent job in helping to create a facility of which we all can be proud.”
“Jacqueline Dace’s strong organizational and communication skills will be invaluable as we continue our effort to work with citizens around the state to ensure that the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum tells the story of the local people who became heroes of the movement,” said MDAH director H.T. Holmes.
Dace has twenty years of museum experience. From 2010 to October of 2012 she served as the collections manager of the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago. Dace developed the exhibit Spread the Word: The Evolution from Chicago to the World that ran from September 2011 through May 2012 at the DuSable, and increased artifact donations to the museum through community outreach. Her duties also included preserving, documenting, and managing the DuSable’s collection and supervising staff and volunteers.
“Helping to develop the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is a natural progression of my work and life experiences,” said Dace. “I’m looking forward to working with community members and everyone involved as the MCRM evolves into an institution that powerfully documents this crucial part of our historical record. I am also looking forward to returning to Mississippi, where my maternal and paternal family legacy is long and enduring.”
In 1992 Dace began as a research associate at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, and in 2004 she became curator of African American collections there. She developed a variety of exhibits and oral history projects, including Katherine Dunham: Beyond the Dance, on display from November 2008 through February 2010, and Through the Eyes of a Child: Growing up Black in St. Louis, 1940-1990, installed in 2003. The Dunham project was the first major exhibition on the life of choreographer, dancer, civil rights activist, and author Katherine Dunham. Through the Eyes of a Child used oral history and research to examine contemporary and historical remembrances of childhood from four African American communities in the St. Louis area.
From 2006 to 2011 Dace was an adjunct faculty member of the African and Afro American studies department at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2011 she received a fellowship from National Arts Strategies. She has presented at conferences throughout the country and served as meeting chair of the Association of African American Museums annual meeting in 2000, 2006, and 2008. Dace received her bachelor of science in social science from Webster University.
“Jacqueline Dace’s background in museum collections and management and her years of experience in museum expansion projects, development of large scale exhibits, and public speaking insure that she will be ready from day one to take this project forward,” said Lucy Allen, MDAH Museum Division director. “We know her experience with African American collections will also be a major strength as we work with the community in seeking artifacts for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.”