Dr. Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA), visited Greenwood recently to share updates on the implementation of the MDNHA Management Plan. The visit included a tour of the Museum of the Mississippi Delta to discuss their renovation plans and a presentation to the Greenwood Rotary Club.
Cheryl Taylor, executive director of the Museum of the Mississippi Delta, gave Herts a tour of the museum, which is scheduled to reopen in May. Taylor will use the MDNHA Management Plan to help guide the creation of new exhibits that will interpret the history of the Mississippi Delta.
“We are excited to learn about the museum’s plans to incorporate our five cultural heritage themes,” said Herts. “The Management Plan was written as a resource for the people of the Mississippi Delta, particularly for cultural programming that stimulates tourism in the region and promotes local education and pride of place. By doing this, the Museum of the Mississippi Delta not only will be fulfilling its mission, but it also will be demonstrating how our institutions and citizens can actively engage with the Heritage Area.”
The MDNHA’s five cultural heritage themes are: (1) The Mississippi Delta and the Land It Embraces; (2) The Culture of the Blues and the Birth of an American Sound; (3) Moving Toward Freedom: Changing America’s Character in the Struggle for Rights; (4) Growing More than Cotton: The Delta as a Wellspring of Creativity; and (5) The Delta Divide: Creating the Delta’s Diverse Communities.
“The Museum of the Mississippi Delta sees the importance of telling the Delta’s story comprehensively and inclusively,” said Taylor, “We can achieve this by interpreting Heritage Area themes in our new exhibits. The Museum is well known for its extensive Native American collection, as well as military and agricultural artifacts and Mississippi artwork. We look forward to using our collections to create innovative exhibits centered on the MDNHA themes.”
After touring the museum, Herts spoke at the Greenwood Rotary Club. The presentation included an overview of the Delta Center’s role as MDNHA’s management entity, as well as the MDNHA’s goals and themes. Herts also discussed recent expansion of the MDNHA Passport Program throughout the 18-county region. The Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau serves as the passport stamp location for Leflore County.
“The Greenwood CVB is pleased to collaborate with the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area Passport Program,” said Tonja Ray Smith, CVB executive director, “By hosting the passport for Leflore County, we will welcome travelers to our community, direct them to area attractions like the Museum of the Mississippi Delta, and encourage them to visit other destinations throughout the Mississippi Delta that will educate tourists about the national significance of the Delta’s culture.”
Herts also highlighted upcoming partnership events that promote MDNHA cultural heritage themes. These events include the opening reception of the Winning the Race diversity conference at Delta State University scheduled for March 30, which will provide Delta residents and visitors an opportunity to meet Robert Stanton, the first African American director of the National Park Service. The MDNHA will also be hosting Delta Jewels Community Gatherings featuring journalism professor, Alysia Burton Steele, and her new book of photography and oral histories on African American church mothers from the Delta. The gatherings will take place in municipalities across the region, including Clarksdale, Charleston, Ruleville, Indianola and Yazoo City.
The MDNHA is a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. 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. For more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/delta-center-for-culture-and-learning/.