MUSEUM OF THE Mississippi DELTA
The Museum of the Mississippi Delta (MoMD) in Greenwood was founded in 1969 as the Cottonlandia Museum. The collection focuses on the history of the Delta, starting with the remains of 65,000,000 year old mosasaurus and including collections of polychrome pottery dating back to 15th century, Spanish Colonial trade beads and tools used for cotton farming and the cotton industry in the Delta. The museum occupies a one story masonry building, designed in 1957 as the headquarters of Billups Petroleum on Highway 82 West. Neither the site nor the building are naturally well-suited for a community museum. After exploring and rejecting several over-scaled options to relocate or completely renovate and add to the building, the dispirited board opted for a phased renovation. Their priorities: renovate the entry and main gallery, improve circulation and accessibility, and add exterior signage that will "attract a whole lot of attention.".
Success, following the adoption of a strategic plan, a successful fundraising campaign and completion of Phase 1 renovations, has reinvigorated the museum. The board of directors is more diverse. Their staff of 3 includes an Inclusion and Community Engagement Manager and in spring 2016 the museum will install The Power of Children, a powerful traveling exhibition developed by the Indianapolis Children's Museum , that discusses the lives of Anne Frank, Ryan White and Ruby Bridges. The museum plans to use its new public spaces and this exhibition as a springboard for collaborative programming with the Museum of Southern Jewish Experience, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and Delta State University. In recognition of this metamorphosis, the Mississippi Arts Commission granted the MoMD full funding for the first time this past year.