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What is that?
An Artifact
What is an artifact?
Why is that important?

Our museums, historic sites and archives collect historic objects and preserve them for future generations to see. From pre-historic pottery and tools to 20th century toys the MDAH collections are great! Our curators and other staff will select artifacts to bring to you.


2012.18.20Sixth Grade Speller

This 1940 textbook may look like an ordinary sixth grade spelling book but it tells a unique story. That’s because it was used by an African American student in a segregated school. Its owner was the son of A.M.E. Logan, a civil rights worker from Jackson who worked with other well-known activists such as Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr. She and her husband were among the first people in Mississippi to file a school desegregation lawsuit in 1963 to allow African American and white children to attend school together.



1990.8.1Toy Piano

Toy pianos have been made since the mid-19th century. This Schoenhut piano was made around 1905. Only 24 inches high and at a cost of approximately $15.00, it was much more affordable than a regular Steinway piano which could cost up to $1,400.00! This one belonged to two sisters from Columbus; it had previously belonged to a cousin.



Poll Tax


This small artifact is a part of the "In Session" exhibit at the Old Capitol Museum. A receipt dated 1896 for "State, County and Special Taxes for the Fiscal Year" in the first district of Coahoma County may seem like just another scrap of paper until you realize its impact on Mississippi. The $2.00 poll tax was put in place by the 1890 Mississippi Constitution. Two dollars ($2.00) may not seem like much today, but in 1896 it was the equivalent of about $55.00. This tax prevented poor blacks and whites from voting in the elections. In Mississippi we have come a long way from 1896. Today every citizen has the right to vote and have their voice counted.