Antiquities Law: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Antiquities Law?
The Antiquities Law, passed in 1970 and amended in 1983, affirms the State’s interest in locating, protecting, and preserving historic properties. These properties, which include sites, objects, and buildings of historical, archaeological, or architectural significance, are identified in the law as "Mississippi Landmarks." The Antiquities Law places the responsibility of implementing the law on the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The Board has established a Permit Committee, composed of the Department director and professional staff in the Department’s Division of Historic Preservation, to review any proposed changes to these properties. This process ensures that Mississippi’s historic, architectural, and cultural heritage is preserved for future generations.
What properties are affected by the Antiquities Law?
Any publicly owned property (belonging to the state, counites, municipalities, or other political subdivisions) may be determined to have significance and designated as a Mississippi Landmark.
How are properties designated as Mississippi Landmarks?
The process begins when a property is identified as eligible for Mississippi Landmark status and is officially placed "under consideration." The owner of the property is then notified and given the opportunity to comment on the possible designation of the property. Public comment is also solicited through a legal notice in the local newspaper. The comment period is twenty-one days. At its next meeting after the comment period, the Board of Trustees considers any comments received and takes formal action on the designation of the property as a Mississippi Landmark. The Mississippi Landmark designation is then recorded in the deed records of the appropriate county’s Chancery Clerk office as a perpetual preservation easement.
What does Mississippi Landmark status mean?
Any proposed work that could affect the historical and architectural character of a Mississippi Landmark is subject to review by the Permit Committee. Property owners are required to notify the Permit Committee in the early planning stage, and always prior to the letting of bids, of proposed projects that may affect designated or potential Mississippi Landmarks. This is done by filing a Notice of Intent Form of Public Construction, Public Improvement, or Transfer of Public Property to Private Ownership.
Staff members of the Division of Historic Preservation are available to work with public officials, architects, and engineers to ensure compliance with the Antiquities Law. There are no charges for this service.
Can private property be designated a Mississippi Landmark?
Yes. The law provides a process for the designation of private property at the request of the owner. Interested property owners must submit a notarized resolution requesting Mississippi Landmark designation, along with documentation of the historical or architectural significance of their property. Resloution forms can be obtained from the Division of Historic Preservation. The review process for publicly owned Mississippi Landmarks, as described above, applies to privately owned Mississippi Landmarks as well.
How can I get more imformation on the Mississippi Landmark Program?
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