20-star flagThe collections of the Museum of Mississippi History reflect the broad range of the stateís history from the Native American period through colonial settlement to the present. There are more than 13,000 artifacts in the collections. Some highlights of the collection are a circa 1550 bell from de Sotoís expedition, a rare twenty-star U.S. flag flown only in 1818, a circa 1831 Bowie knife, a Mississippi rifle used by Jefferson Davisís regiment in the Mexican War, a circa 1862–63 Sherman necktie, a circa 1871 cotton gin, and a circa 1965 Council of Federated Organizations sign that hung on the Evers Hotel in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Donating Artifacts

Collections being moved from the Old Capitol buildingThe Museum of Mississippi History relies primarily on donations to fill gaps in the collection. In the final years the museum was located in the Old Capitol, a collections moratorium was set by the MDAH Board of Trustees because there was no available space to properly store or display additional artifacts. Until the new Museum of Mississippi History is constructed, the collection is being housed in the Charlotte Capers Building, former home to the state archives.

Exceptions to the moratorium are items that represent gaps in the collection, as is represented by such recent acquisitions as artifacts from the Gulf Coast post-Hurricane Katrina, artifacts made and used by Chilean immigrant artisans in Mississippi, a spent tear gas grenade picked up on the University of Mississippi campus after the riots over the admission of James Meredith, and a circa 1960 Mississippi National Guard uniform.

The Museum of Mississippi History is seeking donations from the following categories:

  • Artifacts from the territorial and early statehood periods (1798–1830)
  • Artifacts related to Reconstruction (1863–1877)
  • Artifacts from 1950–1990
  • Native American artifacts
  • African American artifacts
  • Ethnic and cultural artifacts
  • Artifacts related to woman suffrage
  • Artifacts related to the history of the Mississippi Gulf Coast
  • Artifacts from the 1927 flood and other natural disasters
  • Artifacts related to the Old Capitol

To discuss donating artifacts, contact the curator of collections by email or at 601-576-6901.

For an artifact to be accepted for the collection, the donor must transfer ownership to the museum. Donors are eligible to take a tax deduction for the appropriate value of the item. MDAH policy prohibits providing appraisals of objects. The official Collections Policy may be viewed here.

Conservation: Katrina Damage

Artifacts damaged by Hurricane KatrinaWhen Hurricane Katrina tore into the Old Capitol on August 29, 2005, the area worst hit was a collections storage room on the third floor. High winds rolled the copper roof back and rainwater was driven in. In the days following the storm, nearly 3200 artifacts were moved from the damaged areas.

Museum staff assessed each of the artifacts for damage. Professionals specializing in the conservation of furniture, textiles, paintings, and metals determined that about 250 artifacts needed attention. Nearly $90,000 will be spent to conserve those items.

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