MDNHA receives recognition from National Park Service

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The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area was recently recognized for it's work by the National Park Service. As part of that recognition, a press release crafted by NPS was sent to media outlets around the world. Below is a copy of their release:

National Park Service Centennial Award Recognizes Mississippi Delta Heritage Initiative

ATLANTA – This week, the National Park Service (NPS) presented the agency’s prestigious Director’s Centennial Award to Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) and Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University for their work establishing the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership in Mississippi. The award celebrates the efforts of NPS staff and partners who have significantly advanced the NPS Centennial goal of connecting with and creating the next generation of national park visitors, supporters, and advocates.

In March 2015, MDNHA staff partnered with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and author Alysia Burton Steele to host community meetings and events highlighting oral histories and stories of African-American church mothers in the Mississippi Delta. In response to demand for this program, Steele and the MDNHA continued to host events at colleges, universities, and churches across the state of Mississippi. The partnership culminated in March 2016 with a presentation at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, DC in celebration of Women’s History Month and the NPS Centennial.

“The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and the Delta Center demonstrated exceptional leadership and creativity in organizing community gatherings with Alysia Burton Steele that attracted more than a thousand attendees,” said Chris Abbett, National Park Service associate regional director for partnerships, interpretation, and education.

Dr. Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center and MDNHA executive director said, “We are honored to receive this esteemed recognition from the National Park Service for this important cultural heritage development project."

"We are thrilled with the results of the Delta Jewels partnership," said Dr. Myrtis Tabb, MDNHA board chair. "This program was one of our very first and was extremely successful right off the bat. We are eager to build upon that success with continued partnerships that will help share the diverse stories of the Mississippi Delta."

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. 

Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebookwww.facebook.com/nationalparkservice and Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice.
About the Mississippi Delta NHA: The MDNHA is a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. The mission of the MDNHA is to foster preservation, perpetuation, and celebration of the Mississippi Delta’s heritage through collaboration and sustainable economic development. For more information, visitwww.msdeltaheritage.com.

This week, the National Park Service (NPS) presented the agency’s prestigious Director’s Centennial Award to Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) and Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University for their work establishing the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership in Mississippi. The partners collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and author Alysia Burton Steele in a yearlong initiative through Spring 2016 to host community engagement activities featuring oral histories and stories of African-American church mothers in the Mississippi Delta. Pictured (l to r): Delta State University Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Charles McAdams, Delta Center for Culture and Learning and Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area executive Dr. Rolando Herts, Delta State University President William N. LaForge, Vicksburg National Military Park Acting Superintendent Fonce' Bates, and Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area Board Chair Dr. Myrtis Tabb. Credit: Will Jacks.

This week, the National Park Service (NPS) presented the agency’s prestigious Director’s Centennial Award to Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) and Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University for their work establishing the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership in Mississippi. The partners collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and author Alysia Burton Steele in a yearlong initiative through Spring 2016 to host community engagement activities featuring oral histories and stories of African-American church mothers in the Mississippi Delta. Pictured (l to r): Delta State University Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Charles McAdams, Delta Center for Culture and Learning and Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area executive Dr. Rolando Herts, Delta State University President William N. LaForge, Vicksburg National Military Park Acting Superintendent Fonce' Bates, and Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area Board Chair Dr. Myrtis Tabb. Credit: Will Jacks.

MDNHA orientation exhibits installed at Mississippi Welcome Centers

The MDNHA recently installed a series of orientation exhibit banners at the four state welcome centers located in the region. This is another key action item from the MDNHA Management Plan that has now been completed.

The exhibits consist of two banners that give visitors general information about the MDNHA. The first banner highlights the MDNHA’s five cultural heritage themes: 

1. The MS River and the Land It Embraces, which illuminates how the Mississippi Delta was formed, Native American culture, agriculture, floods, and the natural world.

2. The Culture of the Blues and the Birth of An American Sound, which is about Blues music and its influence on American music and culture, from jazz to rock n roll to country, as well as Blues people, places, and events.

3. Moving Toward Freedom: Changing America's Character in the Struggle for Rights, which includes slavery and sharecropping, the Great Migration, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, and race relations in the Delta today.

4. Growing More than Cotton: The Delta as a Wellspring of Creativity, which celebrates literature, food, the arts, and religion here in the Delta.

5. The Delta Divide: Creating the Delta's Diverse Communities, which highlights the stories of various immigrant groups that came to the Mississippi Delta and shaped the region with their distinctive cultural practices, including Chinese, Italians, Jews, and Lebanese.

The second banner features an image of an iconic Mississippi Delta landmark in the area surrounding each of the welcome centers. Listed below are the state welcome centers, their locations, and the landmarks featured in their areas.

Welcome Center Location Featured MDNHA Landmark
DeSoto County Welcome Center I-55 South
Hernando, Mississippi
Mississippi River at Tunica River Park
Tunica, Mississippi
Delma Furniss Hospitality Station Intersection of Highway 49 and Highway 61
Lula, Mississippi
Dr. T.R.M. Howard Freedom Trail Marker
Mound Bayou, Mississippi
Washington County Welcome Center Highway 82 and Reed Road
Greenville, Mississippi
Chinese Cemetery
Greenville, Mississippi
Warren County Welcome Center 4210 Washington Street
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Mont Helena
Rolling Fork, Mississippi

MDNHA Hosts Grantee Orientation

Grant recipients from 2016 and 2017 pose together during a break in the recent MDNHA grantee orientation.

Grant recipients from 2016 and 2017 pose together during a break in the recent MDNHA grantee orientation.

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area recently hosted administrators for the twenty projects that received funding through the MDNHA’s grant program. The organization has funded over $300,000 over the last two years to projects throughout the Delta.

“I want to thank the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area as well as the National Park Service for this grant,” said Leslie Miller, a volunteer with the Rolling Fork Visitors Center and Museum. “Without the support of these organizations, we’d have never figured out how to tell the story of our community. Now, we have such a wonderful space that helps educate visitors and locals about the history and importance of our area.”

The funded work celebrates the diversity of the Delta’s rich cultural heritage including restoration of historical sites such as the St. Francis Xavier Convent in Vicksburg, establishment of a museum featuring the legacy of Dr. L. C. Dorsey at the Delta Health Center in the historic black town of Mound Bayou, examination of Delta Chinese culture’s influence on Delta cuisine, and celebration of the “Chitlin’ Circuit Years” during B.B. King Day at Mississippi Valley State University.

“Each of these agencies is to be commended for the great work they are doing,” said Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Chair of the MDNHA Board of Directors. “It is always inspiring to see what happens when communities are active in solving the needs of their friends and neighbors. The MDNHA is proud to play a part in empowering these amazing visions that will improve each of the areas in which they are implemented.”

“It was an amazing day meeting all of the people responsible for the important work being done throughout the Delta,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, Director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, which serves as the managing entity for MDNHA. “This meeting truly demonstrated that we are building a collaborative regional network through the grant program. We are excited to be a part of empowering projects that will have a tremendous impact of the citizens of the region, and we look forward to building many more partnerships in the years to come.”

Grant recipients and funded projects include:

ArtPlace Mississippi - Delta Wild: Connecting people to the Mississippi Delta’s natural habitat and resources
Bologna Performing Arts Center, Delta State UniversityPublic performance of “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till”; Development of a new track of classes for its CORE Arts Camp that showcases tales of origination in song and story
Cleveland/Bolivar County Chamber of CommerceCleveland Chamber/Tourism office relocation and signage plan; Restoration of the Façade and Interior of the Cleveland Depot building
Cleveland Music Foundation - Exploring a Culture of Creativity: Engaging students in telling local stories through music at Grammy Museum Mississippi
Delta Blues Museum - Boogie Children, Celebrating John Lee Hooker website and educational programs honoring Hooker’s 100th birthday
Delta Hands for Hope - Photography and Oral History Program for high school students
Delta Health Center, Inc.Establish the Dr. L. C. Dorsey Community Health Center Museum in Mound Bayou
Delta State University Archives & Museum – Amzie Moore House Museum and MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum docent program; Preserving the historic Mississippi Delta Chinese foodways culture through stories of family, place and cuisine
DeSoto Foundation - First Contact Historical Trail: Native Americans’ first encounter with Europeans in the Mississippi Delta
Dockery Farms FoundationRestore and preserve the historic Dockery Farms cotton gin, and develop historical exhibits within the gin building
Greenville Arts Council – Provide artist residencies to teachers and students that preserve the rich artistic traditions of the Mississippi Delta
Lower Mississippi River Foundation - Between the Levees: Telling the story of the Mississippi River batture
Mississippi Heritage TrustConduct four Historic Preservation Toolkit workshops that teach local towns and organizations how to leverage funding to preserve historic places
Mississippi State UniversityGenerate knowledge about and provide estimates of the economic value of preserving sites of cultural significance in the Delta
Mississippi State University Extension ServiceWarren CountyThe Heritage Garden – Know your Roots demonstration garden at Vicksburg National Military Park
Mississippi Valley State UniversityDesign and present symposium lectures, panel discussions, musical performances and other work in support of the B. B. King Day symposium
Museum of the Mississippi Delta - Greenwood Leflore and the Choctaw Indians museum exhibit and research monograph
Rolling Fork Visitors Center and Museum - Multimedia interpretive display expansion and exhibit preservation
Rosedale Freedom Project - Unsung Voices of Bolivar County: civil rights stories past and present collected by high school students
Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation - 1868 St. Francis Xavier Convent restoration

Representatives from various grantee organizations reported on the positive impacts that the MDNHA grants have had on their projects. 

“Because of this grant we’ve been able to share both the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum and the Amzie Moore House Museum with so many more people than we would have been able to without it,” said Emily Jones, Director of Delta State University Archives and Museums. “It’s been very rewarding to recognize that African Americans and Chinese are in the Delta, of the Delta, and represent a piece of our history.”

In DeSoto County the grant was used to help with the First Contact Trail, an educational initiative designed to give better understanding to Hernando DeSoto’s crossing of the Mississippi River. 

“We worked with the Native American community as well as local officials to develop this trail,” said Susan Fernandez, a representative assisting with the project. “This wasn’t just about Hernando DeSoto. This project alsowas about the people who lived here before DeSoto. We wanted to be sure to tell all sides of the story.”

The Rosedale Freedom Project used the grant to implement storytelling projects based on oral histories from the area. 

“One of the things our students decided they wanted to do was a podcast to tell the story of education history in their community,” said Jeremiah Smith, Director of the RFP. “The students went out and collected oral histories that connected the past of school segregation to present conditions. They realized that history isn’t just something that happened in the past. It has given them a greater sense of why things are the way they are today, which can help them find creative solutions for a better tomorrow.”

Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area Grants Announced

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area recently awarded over $150,000 in grants, bringing it's two-year total of awards to more than $300,000 to organizations managing projects throughout the Mississippi Delta region.

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area recently awarded over $150,000 in grants, bringing it's two-year total of awards to more than $300,000 to organizations managing projects throughout the Mississippi Delta region.

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) is pleased to announce over $155,000 in grants for nine projects focused on cultural and heritage development in the Mississippi Delta.

The funded work celebrates the diversity of the Delta’s rich cultural heritage including restoration of historical sites such as the Dockery Farms cotton gin, the establishment of a museum featuring the legacy of Dr. L. C. Dorsey at the Delta Health Center, and the influence of the Delta’s Chinese culture in Delta cuisine.

“We are pleased to support a broad range of work from communities and organizations dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the Delta,” said Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Chair of the MDNHA Board of Directors.  “We are encouraged by the number and scope of applicants in our second year of the Small Grants Program, and hope others will be motivated to participate in future rounds of funding.”

“We do our best to fund work in all parts of the Delta, and in a variety of areas of interest that complement MDNHA’s mission,” said Meg Cooper, Chair of the MDNHA Grants Committee.  “We have now approved a total of over $300,000 in projects in our two years of grant making.”

“The MDNHA is designed to engage and empower organizations and individuals to promote the cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, which serves as the management entity for MDNHA.  “This partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service is crucial to the preservation, perpetuation and celebration of the Delta’s heritage that is at the core of our mission.”

Grant recipients and their funded projects include:

Delta Health Center, Inc.establish the Dr. L. C. Dorsey Community Health Center Museum in Mound Bayou

Dockery Farms Foundationrestore and preserve the historic Dockery Farms cotton gin, and develop historical exhibits within the gin building

The Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State Universitydevelopment of a new track of classes for its CORE Arts Camp that showcases tales of origination in song and story

Mississippi Valley State Universitydesign and present symposium lectures, panel discussions, musical performances and other work in support of the B. B. King Day symposium

Mississippi State Universitygenerate knowledge about and provide estimates of the economic value of preserving sites of cultural significance in the Delta

Greenville Arts Councilprovide artist residencies to teachers and students that preserve the rich artistic traditions of the Mississippi Delta

Mississippi Heritage Trustconduct four Historic Preservation Toolkit workshops that teach local towns and organizations how to leverage funding to preserve historic places

Delta State University, Department of Archives and HistoryPreserving the historic Mississippi Delta Chinese foodways culture through stories of family, place and cuisine

Cleveland/Bolivar County Chamber of CommerceRestoration of the Façade and Interior of the Cleveland Depot building

The MDNHA includes 18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops.  For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

 

National Heritage Areas of Mississippi host Collaboration Clinic

Collaboration Clinic participants from Mississippi and across the country engage in a team visioning exercise at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

Collaboration Clinic participants from Mississippi and across the country engage in a team visioning exercise at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

Three National Heritage Areas – Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Hills, and Mississippi Gulf Coast – held a Collaboration Clinic recently at the Biloxi Visitors Center. The workshop was facilitated by the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. 

"Collaboration Clinics are a proposed model for helping NPS staff, stakeholders, and partners develop more effective skills for collaboration,” said Elizabeth Smith-Incer, Mississippi Field Office Director for the Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program. “Planners, superintendents, and other decision makers need this kind of training to engage communities as we make decisions about the resources we preserve and protect."

This is the first Collaboration Clinic held in the Southeast Region and the first hosted by a group of National Heritage Areas. Since 2014, Collaboration Clinics have been offered over a dozen times in parks and sites across the country including New York City, Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada, New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park in Massachusetts, and Zion National Park in Utah. 

“We were honored to host this first clinic,” said Rhonda Price, Executive Director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast NHA. “I think collaboration and partnerships are keys to a successful NHA. We are excited to start working together on joint projects like the NPS/NHA passport program.”

Collaboration Clinic participants learn about bird tourism at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

Collaboration Clinic participants learn about bird tourism at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

Staff and board members from the three National Heritage Areas attended along with representatives from Visit Mississippi and the Department of Archives & History in Jackson. Out-of-state attendees included representatives from the Alliance of National Heritage Areas, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the NPS Office of Partnerships & Philanthropic Stewardship based in Washington, DC.

“In order for National Heritage Areas to thrive, collaboration is vital.”  Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area Executive Director Mary Cates Williams stated. “I was very thankful to the National park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program for facilitating this workshop and allowing Mississippi’s three NHA’s to discuss ways to expand and grow our programs. I can speak for all of us when I say that we are grateful to have the support of not only the National Park Service but our Mississippi Congressional delegation as well.” 

The workshop included discussions and exercises on a range of topics including achieving results through collaboration, improving communication, and managing conflict. 

The group also heard presentations from Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University which serves as the management entity for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The presentations were about the passport program and the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership. 

 “We discussed developing a statewide Passport to Your National Parks map and other cooperative marketing strategies to promote tourism to our areas,” said Dr. Herts. “We also learned about bird tourism partnership opportunities at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point. This was a very productive workshop that will help all of us work together to better serve Delta, Hills, and Gulf Coast residents and visitors.” 

A SPECIAL VISIT TO THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE “AND, I CRIED . . .”

essay by:
Emily L. Moore, Ed.D., Professor Emerita, Iowa State University, Higher Education
EL Moore © 2017

 

Editor’s Note: How the Smithsonian, National Park Service, and National Heritage Areas tell stories together

During the Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA) Annual Meeting in February 2017, I had the honor of working with Brandi Roberts, Executive Director of Great Basin National Heritage Area (Nevada) Sara Capen, Executive Director of Niagara Falls National Heritage Area (New York) to organize a special ANHA tour of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. The tour was arranged in collaboration with Smithsonian Ambassador Mossi Tull and the museum's education division. 

National Heritage Areas are cultural heritage partnerships with the National Park Service. The Smithsonian NMAAHC features exhibits that relate to many National Heritage Area stories, including the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, which spans Lowcountry coastal communities shared by four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The following is a powerful reflective essay written by Dr. Emily Moore who experienced the tour with her husband, Dr. Herman Blake, Executive Director of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Dr. Moore’s personal account poignantly illustrates the enduring historical and cultural significance of a 1955 Mississippi Delta story that still resonates with 21st century America: the lynching of African American teenager Emmett Till, an international tragedy widely cited as the “spark that lit the fuse” of the modern Civil Rights Movement.  

- Rolando Herts, Ph.D., The Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area


On February 13th, 2017, during Black History Month, Herman Blake and I, with nearly one hundred other people from the Alliance of National Heritage Areas, experienced an opportunity of our lifetime – a guided tour by a docent of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Washington D.C. 

What made our visit so remarkable was: (1) at the time, there were no tickets available to visit the museum until April 2017; (2) the reality of Black History Month weighed heavily on us; and (3) our two-hour tour was provided before the museum opened to the public for the day. Thus, our group was alone to wander and tour the four level building; question and read; hear the music and see the artifacts; listen to the voices of the past with explanations from the docent; and remember the events that made us smile, hurt and struggle. 

The power of the museum won’t let you be a visitor. You are a part of the reality of the exhibit. You cannot look away. You cannot say “I am not involved.” You are absolutely in the moment. And, then sometimes, you cry.

As written in their literature, this is “the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture . . . established by an Act of Congress in 2003 . . . and opened on September 24, 2016 . . . it has 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 charter members.” Quoting Lonnie Bunch, founding director, “there are few things as powerful and as important as a people, as a nation that is steeped in its history.” 

Herman and I met Dr. Lonnie Bunch in Hilton Head, SC, a few months before the opening of the museum. He spoke to us about the plans and expectations. I had no idea of the magnitude and the quality of the museum, the exhibits and the planning that developed this wonderful experience. 

Our tour was arranged by Dr. Rolando Herts, Director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. An energetic and bright young man, Rolando took the picture of Herman and me at the South Carolina Rice exhibit. About half way through the tour, I recall telling him, “It’s hard to watch and relive your life as history.” There was so much to see and learn. It really takes more than a day to walk, sit and think about what you’ve seen or are seeing. 

Obviously the developers, curators and archivists understood the impact of the museum. There were several spaces on each level . . . a room, a corner, a place to sit and quietly reflect on the experience. These spaces were absolutely needed. Sometimes one is overwhelmed by what happens as a video streams before your eyes. You are stunned by what you didn’t know; by what you knew but forgot; or by what you don’t want to remember. I used one of those spaces to cry . . . to just cry my heart out. 

Herman and I were walking past the Woolworth Sit-in Stools, Interactive Lunch Counter exhibit. I asked a staff member about the Emmett Till Memorial. It was at the end of hall. I started walking and looked back at Herman. He indicated that it was going to be too much for him. I walked on alone. 

There were two small rooms in the exhibit. A staff person stood in the outer room. It felt much like the vestibule of a church; but I wondered why the staff person was there. I would soon understand. 

I looked at the artifacts and moved to the inner room. I found myself in a church service. Not just a Sunday service; but I had the feel of a funeral service. I sat down on the first pew and realized in front of me was the actual coffin that held Emmett Till’s body. I looked up and saw the procession and words of people speaking. I heard the choir singing, his mother speaking and the preacher preaching. There were photos of Emmett Till, the young teen, brutally killed in Mississippi and of his mother who insisted that the casket remain open, so the world could see what they did to her son.

I remembered Emmett Till’s story. He was from Chicago and went to visit relatives in Money, Mississippi, when he was killed. I was a child in Chicago when it happened. My mother showed me the article in Jet magazine. I believe my aunts attended the wake. Many of our neighbors, family and friends paid their respects also. I was afraid. 

Sitting on the pew in the National Museum of African American History, I was transported to my childhood as I relived the past with an adult’s knowledge of the future. And, it hurt. It really hurt and I started to cry. 

Rising from the seat, I found myself walking away from the exhibit. I looked straight ahead. I did not want to talk to anyone. Herman understood. I found my quiet place and I cried. There are rooms on every level of this museum where you can record your feelings and impressions. I used two of them as a way to unburden my long held memories and fears. 

My God! 

This was like no museum I had ever visited and that’s what makes it important and significant. There are many exhibits –  joyful, inspirational, challenging, and interesting that make you smile and laugh. There are others that make you bow your head and cry. The museum elicits all of your emotions. Yet, there is a diversity of people around you who understand your feelings and share your experience.

It is a community. It is a museum. It is educational and, in ways, spiritual. 

It is a must-visit of a lifetime.

 

 

 

Rolling Fork Visitors Center and Museum holds Open House

The newly renovated Rolling Fork Visitors Center and Museum recently held an open house to officially share recent updates made possible, in part, by a grant from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The museum includes displays sharing the story of Teddy Roosevelt and his bear hunt that lead to the creation of the 'Teddy Bear", artifacts from area indian mounds, and music by blues great Muddy Waters, who was born in Rolling Fork and still has family there.

The Visitors Center and Museum, located just off Highway 61 on Walnut Street is manned by volunteers ready to tell you all about our area, and is open Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special tours may be arranged by calling 662.873.2232. 

MDNHA Provides Grant Information to Delta Communities

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area recently hosted a series of grant workshops throughout the region in collaboration with Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi Humanities Council, and Mississippi Department of Archives & History. The workshops were held in Senatobia, Indianola, and Vicksburg and engaged over 60 individuals representing 48 organizations from 12 MDNHA counties, as well as Hinds County (Jackson) and Jefferson County (Alcorn State University). 

The MDNHA grant program supports projects that provide a deeper understanding of the culture and heritage of the Mississippi Delta. The workshops provided proposal writing tips for the MDNHA grant program. For those unable to attend, video segments of the workshops and other helpful information can be found on the MDNHA website at https://www.msdeltaheritage.com/grants.

“One of the things I was most impressed with was how adamant all of the organizations were to help everyone that showed interest in the process,” said Adrienne Hudson, Executive Director of RISE, Inc. “It didn’t matter if you were a corporate entity, a long standing non-profit, an education-based group, or just a community member looking to make things better - the goal was clearly to help as many people as possible understand the resources that are available to them. I’m excited to know I can revisit this information on the MDNHA website, just in case I still have questions moving forward.”

In addition to information about the MDNHA’s grant program, representatives from Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi Humanities Council, and Mississippi Department of Archives & History were on hand to discuss their grant opportunities.

Brenda Outlaw attended the Indianola workshop in hopes of getting a better understanding of possible projects that could be implemented in her hometown of Merigold. 

“It was so helpful to have these four agencies in the same place at the same time,” she said. “I went in thinking there were only a few possibilities for different things we could do in Merigold, and came away realizing there is support for lots of ideas that can help us in our little town.”

This is the second year the MDNHA has offered grants. Last year over $180,000 was awarded to 14 organizations throughout the MDNHA. Projects ranged from arts-based projects and oral histories to cultural signage and infrastructure. 

Applications must be received by 4PM on Monday, March 20, at The Delta Center for Culture and Learning in order to be considered for this funding cycle.

The MDNHA is a cultural heritage partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. Led by Dr. Rolando Herts, Director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, the MDNHA includes 18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo.

The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com. Information about the grants program is also available at this website.

For more information, contact The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at 662-846-4311, or email grants@msdeltaheritage.com.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/