JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Foundation for Mississippi History was awarded a $2.5 million grant to help the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) support and promote programs, activities, and projects.

Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded the grant and made it through its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative, which is a nationwide effort to help museums and other cultural institutions improve the public understanding of religion. 

Through the grant, the Two Mississippi Museums will begin offering free group tours this summer to faith-affiliated communities in Mississippi, groups who attend churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, house churches, and more. 

“We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for this major support,” said Katie Blount, MDAH director. “The foundation’s generosity will help more Mississippians experience these museums. Building an endowment to underwrite field trips for Mississippi students was paramount to our initial vision. With the recent passage of the five-year anniversary of the Two Museums, Lilly Endowment helps to build on that momentum and expand our educational outreach.”   

Support from Lilly Endowment will enable MDAH to broaden its audiences and engage them in new and exciting ways. The agency plans to invest in capital improvements at Historic Jefferson College near Natchez and at the Huddleston Memorial Chapel at Natchez College, a historically Black college open from 1884 to 1989.

In addition, the grant will make MDAH’s archival collections related to religion more accessible to the public.