The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University provided an introduction to the Delta’s cultural heritage for a combined group of students from Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi during their Alternative Spring Break. The students spend a week in the Delta, combining service projects with visits to attractions like Delta State University, the Quapaw Canoe Company, the Delta Blues Museum, McCarty’s Pottery, the Levee Run Farm, Dulaney Seed Company, and Po’ Monkey’s Lounge. The students stay at the North Greenwood Baptist Church and dine in restaurants throughout the Delta. The academic aspect of the course focuses on the Blues and Civil Rights heritage of the Delta. The Mississippi State group was organized by Alternative Spring Break Co-Directors Courtney Allen and Chris Turner. The University of Mississippi class was organized by AmeriCorps VISTA workers Ryan Parsons and Erin Mauffrey, and accompanied by Dr. Albert Nylander, formerly Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State and now Director of the McLean Institute for Partnerships and Community Engagement at Ole Miss.
The Delta State University Delta Center for Culture and Learning was recently invited to review plans for the new Gateway to the Blues Museum and Visitor’s Center located on Highway 61 in Tunica. The Delta Center was included because it is now the manager of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.
The visitor’s center is currently open, and the museum will be under construction soon, opening in 2014. The new visitor’s center is adjacent to the previous one, but is now located in an old railroad terminal that was moved from Dundee. The museum will house the fine collection of artifacts that was formerly on display in the Horseshoe Casino, and will direct visitors along the Mississippi Blues Trail.