The leadership team for the 2 Mississippi Museums is now in place with Cindy Gardner as site administrator, Pamela Junior as director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and Rachel Myers as director of the Museum of Mississippi History.
“We could not ask for a better group to head up these world-class museums,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “Cindy Gardner has been a guiding hand for the project from the start, and Pamela Junior and Rachel Myers bring a wealth of experience and energy that will help connect the museums to all Mississippians.”
Prior to being hired as site administrator, Gardner worked as MDAH project manager for the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum while also serving as director of collections for the department’s Museum Division. She began at MDAH in 1999 as a collections registrar at the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History after working at two museums in Florida. Gardner holds a bachelor’s in history from Stetson University and three certificates from the Mississippi State Personnel Board’s Certified Public Manager program. She is past treasurer of the Southeastern Registrars Association and a member of the Mississippi Museums Association and Field Services Alliance.
Pamela D.C. Junior comes to MDAH from the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center in Jackson, where she had been manager since 1999. Junior is a member of the board of directors for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and Mississippi Book Festival and a co-founder of the Mississippi Black Theater Festival. She is the recipient of the Freedom Rider award from the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation, the For My People award from the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, and the Hometown Hero award from the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau. Junior holds a bachelors in education from Jackson State University.
Rachel Myers has been director of the Museum Department of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life since 2010. She is Mississippi State Leader for the American Association of State and Local History and serves on the boards of the Council of American Jewish Museums and Jackson 2000. Before moving to Mississippi, Myers worked as a program assistant at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Brandeis University and a master’s in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University.
The Museum of Mississippi History will explore the entire sweep of the state’s history, from earliest times to the present. The museum collection dates back to artifacts acquired in the early days of MDAH, which was founded in 1902. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will focus on the period 1945 to 1976 and tell the story of the struggle for equal rights and fair treatment under the law. It will be the nation’s first state-operated civil rights museum.
The museums will be located in downtown Jackson and provide expanded storage for the MDAH collection of more than 21,000 objects. This brand-new facility will spotlight materials from the state archives as well as artifacts from the collection. Exhibit galleries span two levels, including a temporary exhibition hall, and an expansive museum store located on the ground floor. The facility also houses collections storage, a conservation laboratory, offices, and an exhibit workshop. The museums are scheduled to open December 9, 2017, as the centerpiece of the state’s bicentennial celebration.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the second-oldest state department of archives and history in the United States. The department collects, preserves, and provides access to the archival resources of the state, administers museums and historic sites, and oversees statewide programs for historic preservation, state and local government records management, and publications.