State allocates millions for two historic landmarks in Natchez

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 8:51 PM CDT
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NATCHEZ, Miss. (WLBT) - Major improvements are coming to Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and Historic Jefferson College in Natchez.

It’s part of an $8 million restoration project thanks to state lawmakers who allocated the funds for the upgrades.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History made the big announcement Tuesday in Natchez.

“We envision a visitor’s experience here that is worthy of this site and worth of the interesting and important stories that are told here,” said Katie Blount with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Excitement was the mood of the crowd in Natchez after learning that the Mississippi State Legislature allocated millions to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to make improvements at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.

The 128-acre park features three prehistoric Native American mounds and a nature trail. It is also considered the best historically documented mound site in North America.

“We anticipate adding one new interpretive center that will contain brand new exhibits concerning the Natchez people and the American Indians of the Southeast. We also anticipate building a pavilion that can be multi-use, not just for the Mississippi Department of Archives of History, but also for the community at large. We are very much looking forward to having brand new exhibits throughout the site that tells the importance of the American Indians in the Southeast,” stated Lance Harris, Grand Village Site Director.

A few miles up the road, the Historic Jefferson College is also getting a facelift.

It’s the birthplace of Mississippi’s statehood in 1817. The national historic landmark was also the first institution of higher learning chartered in the Mississippi Territory.

“We will restore the buildings there,” Blount said. “We have a collection of eight historic buildings and then we’re going to establish an interpretive center and we will look into the history of this region, which is significant as any history in the country.”

The City of Natchez and state agree this investment will have a positive ripple effect for those hungry for history.

“The intention is to make this a world-class site, very similar to the Two Museums of Mississippi. There are so many parts of Natchez that can be told and the stories that can be told through these sites,” said Devin Heath, Visit Natchez Executive Director.

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