Exploring Jackson’s History | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Exploring Jackson’s History

Old Capitol Museum Photo by Deonica Davis

Old Capitol Museum Photo by Deonica Davis

Jackson is a city overflowing with history—civil-war history, civil-rights history, prehistory and much more. For decades it's been a cultural hub in the South, a testament to the good and the bad here. These are some of its best museums and historic landmarks to visit.

Museum of Mississippi History

Where? 222 North St., Suite 1206

When? 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

What? Opened alongside the adjacent Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in December 2017, the Museum of Mississippi History covers 15,000 years of history, beginning with prehistoric times and traveling up to the present. It hosts the most extensive collection of Mississippi artifacts in the world.

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Where? 222 North St., Suite 2205

When? 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.

What? In a state marred by racism over the last two centuries, the civil-rights museum gives a sober, honest and sometimes moving glimpse into the African American struggle for civil rights, including black people's abilities to vote, organize and speak freely. The museum's centerpiece, "This Little Light of Mine," honors activists by putting their pictures and words on display. The gallery also has a light sculpture that gets more active the more people gather and interact with it.

Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center

Where? 528 Bloom St.

When? 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday

What? Housed in what was once Smith Robertson Elementary School, the first public school for black children in the city, this is another museum chock-full of civil-rights history.

Eudora Welty House and Garden

Where? 1119 Pinehurst St.

When? Tours happen by reservation four times a day on Tuesday and Friday and on the second Saturday of each month. For more information, email [email protected]

What? Pulitzer-winning novelist Eudora Welty lived and wrote here for 76 years. She's perhaps best known for the book that won her the prize, "The Optimist's Daughter," as well as her short story "The Death of a Traveling Salesman." You can also stroll through the house's garden.

Medgar Evers Home Museum

Where? 2332 Margaret W. 
Alexander Drive

What? Medgar Evers was a World War II veteran, voting-rights activist and field secretary for the NAACP. Following a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said segregation of public schools was unconstitutional, he applied to the University of Mississippi School of Law and was rejected for being black. He later played a role in James Meredith's enrollment at the university as the first African American there. Evers was assassinated in front of his family by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens' Council and the Ku Klux Klan, at his home in 1963.

Old Capitol Museum

Where? 100 S. State St.

When? 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.

What? Built in 1839, this is the original capitol building in Jackson, where the state seceded from the Union. Today the building has been reworked to an interactive, multimedia museum with several exhibits.

The Farish Street Historic District

Where? Farish Street

What? Once known as the "Black Mecca" of Mississippi, Farish Street was a hub for black entrepreneurs and business owners during segregation. Today it still plays host to some businesses that stretch back to the 1930s, including Jackson staple Big Apple Inn.

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

Where? 2148 Riverside Drive

When? Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

What? Did you know there's a volcano under the Mississippi Coliseum, and that Mississippi was once completely under water? You can learn all this and more at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

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