JACKSON — A Madison law firm and a Jackson bank have donated $850,000 to two Mississippi history museums being built in downtown Jackson.
The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum have now raised more than $12 million. The goal is $16 million of private money to go with an estimated $87 million in state funding.
The museums will share one structure near the state Capitol. Construction started in December 2013, and the museums are scheduled to open during the state’s bicentennial in 2017.
The latest contributions came from Trustmark Bank and the law firm Butler Snow.
Trustmark’s gift of $500,000 will sponsor the lobby and Community Room shared by the two museums. Butler Snow’s $350,000 donation will sponsor the opening gallery, “Mississippi’s Freedom Struggle,” in the Civil Rights Museum.
Gov. Haley Barbour pushed the Legislature to put state money into the museums with the idea that private money would also be raised.
The Legislature has already committed $54 million to the two museums. The department is requesting another $33 million for the museums this year.
In January, the museums’ received a donation of $2.5 million from Ray Neilsen, who’s a former chairman of the board and worked in several jobs for Ameristar Casinos Inc., a company founded by his father; and from the California-based charity started by Ray Neilsen’s father, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.
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