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Miller honored for work with Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum

By | Alumni, Archives, Community, Faculty/Staff, Uncategorized | No Comments
Pictured (left to right): Gilroy Chow, MDCHM president; Lisa Miller; and Cindi Lofton, MDCHM project coordinator.

Lisa Miller ’03, director of the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum in Cleveland, was recently awarded a distinctive plaque of appreciation for her outstanding work with the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at the Charles W. Capps Jr. Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

Gilroy Chow, MDCHM president, presented the award to Miller at a recent board meeting.

The city of Cleveland and Delta State University work in partnership with MDCHM, with Miller serving as ex-officio in her work with the museum.

Miller’s creative talent and support have been significant in the development and success of the museum since it opened in 2011. Among many, one major contribution of Miller’s was designing the museum brochures, which uniquely depict Chinese culture. The brochures project was supported by a grant from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.

Emily Jones, university archivist and curator of the museum, said Miller is extremely worthy of the recognition.

“Passionate about preserving and sharing our local Delta history, Lisa Miller was one of the first volunteers to help create the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum,” said Jones. “Through her generosity and careful planning, we were able to host our first book launch at the Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum. The book, ‘Journey Stories from the Cleveland Chinese Mission School,’ by co-authors Paul Wong and Doris Ling Lee, has been an amazingly successful fundraiser for the MDCHM programs and projects, and we are proud that we can now offer our newest publication, ‘The MS Chinese Veterans of World War II: A Delta Tribute,’ by Gwendolyn Gong, John H. Powers and Devereux Gong Powers.”

“Her creativity is evident in the museum space on the third floor of the Capps building, and she has consistently encouraged and supported the museum as if it were her primary responsibility,” added Jones. “Over the past seven years, Lisa has attended board meetings as an ex-officio member representing the city of Cleveland, offered guidance for large and small projects, and stepped in to volunteer whenever she is needed — all while directing the Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum for Cleveland. She is a constant encouragement for me and I could not ask for a better partner to help collect and preserve our local history.”

The Chinese Museum is located on the third floor of the Capps building and is free and open to the public. Guided tours are available for groups of all ages. For more information, contact Jones at ejones@deltastate.edu or Cindi Q. Lofton at clofton@deltastate.edu or call 662-846-4780.

For information about the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum, contact Miller at trainmuseum@cableone.net or 662-843-3377.

Photos Scanning Days hosted for Lebanese exhibit

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On April 3-4, the University Archives will host Photo Scanning Days as part of programming for the Lebanese in America exhibit.

Over the two-day period, guests are encouraged to bring in photographs related to Lebanese culture and heritage in the Mississippi Delta. Scanning will begin on April 3 at 1 p.m. and will continue until 6 p.m. On April 4, scanning will begin at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 3 p.m. The scanning stations are set up in Jobe Hall, inside the auditorium’s side stage area.

While guests visit with digitization specialists, they can also share stories with oral history interviewers set up for the days.

The images and information will become a part of the MS Digital Library, and a copy will be housed within the University Archives & Museum. Individuals may donate their original images to the University Archives & Museum or may take their originals back home after they’ve been scanned.

Guests are also invited to tour the exhibit.

“Hosting the traveling exhibit has provided us the opportunity to reach out to this particular group in our community, and I am thankful for that,” said Emily Jones, university archivist.

Keith Fulcher, executive director of Alumni-Foundation, has been a driving force in making the traveling exhibit and supporting programming a reality.

“People sometimes ask me why we put so much energy and time into collecting a particular piece of our history, and I have to be honest, I am able to dedicate more time to specific projects when there is someone within that community willing to commit their time to helping me collect on their behalf,” said Fulcher.

“Collecting our shared Delta history is a shared responsibility,” added Jones. “With support from groups like the Quality Enhancement Plan, the university’s Diversity Committee and the university’s Special Programs Committee, we are able to shine a spotlight on different areas of our history for a time. Collaborative work such as the traveling exhibit and supporting programming is a key element in encouraging community support and collecting a well-rounded representation of our collective history.”

In order to serve as many individuals as possible during the photo scanning, participants are asked to select 10- 15 images to be scanned. Additional images can be left in the care of the University Archives to continue digitizing and will be returned to each owner once all images have been scanned.

For more information, contact Jones at ejones@deltastate.edu.

Matsy Wynn Richards tabbed for Howorth Woman of Achievement Award

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The public is invited to attend the 2017 Lucy Somerville Howorth Woman of Achievement Award on April 2 at 2 p.m. at the Charles W. Capps Jr. Archives and Museum Building at Delta State.

The Awards Committee recently announced this year’s recipient as the late Martha “Matsy” Wynn Richards.

Richards was born Martha Kinman Wynn in 1888 in Friars Point, Mississippi. She moved to Greenville with her parents at a young age, where she lived until attending school in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1918, she read an article in the Christian Science Monitor that steered her to pursue a career in photography.

“Matsy was a successful woman in a time where women were unlikely to be,” said Daniel Shemwell, recipient of the 2016-17 Lucy Somerville Howorth Fellowship. “Matsy broke free of perpetuated norms in the south in 1918 when she went in search of an education in photography. Forging a career out of something she was both deeply passionate about and skilled at, her work became so successful, she attracted attention from giants like Vogue Magazine and Fox Studios. She lived life to the fullest. Matsy was an inspiration to many in the field of photography and is still talked about and studied today.”

Following the award ceremony, a new exhibit featuring Richards’s life work and accomplishments will open in the main gallery.

“Since beginning my work with Matsy when I received the fellowship in the fall of 2016, I have had the unique opportunity of working with some of her living relatives who knew her,” added Shemwell. “Her family offered me a real life connection to the woman whose works are in boxes in the archives. This project has focused my historical interest and I hope others will enjoy seeing her life’s work as I have.”

Emily Jones, university archivist, said she is looking forward to honoring another worthy recipient.

“Women of the Delta have made significant contributions to not only the social and cultural landscape of the region, but have been in the unique position to serve as ambassadors of the Delta to the rest of the world,” said Jones. “I am proud that Judge Lucy chose this awards program to bear her name and support as a lasting legacy.”

Previous recipients of the award include:
• Emma Knowlton Humphreys Lytle-2000
• Keith Dockery McLean- 2003
• Mae Bertha Carter- 2005
• Franke Keating- 2007
• LePoint Cassibry Smith- 2009
• Fannie Lou Hamer- 2012
• Dorothy Shawhan- 2015

For more information, contact archives@deltastate.edu.

Campus to celebrate 91st anniversary

By | Academics, Archives and Museum, Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

All campus members, friends and supporters of Delta State University are invited to a birthday celebration Sept. 15, as the university marks the 91st anniversary of its opening.

The public is encouraged to join the university as it kicks off its celebration of 91 years of excellence.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge, joined by members of the Dedicated Statesmen Association, will start the ceremony at noon at the Alumni Brick Plaza in front of Ward Hall. The event will conclude with a luncheon of sandwiches and pizza.

The program will begin with words from President LaForge, and a few DSA members will reenact some of the old campus rules that were established in the university’s rulebooks known as the Green Books. Members of the Delta State Wind Ensemble will also perform musical numbers at the affair.

Dr. James Robinson, president of the DSA committee, is exited to once again celebrate the university’s founding.

“We should celebrate each year with growing excitement as the 100th birthday approaches,” said Robinson. “A yearly celebration allows more of our students to be on campus to learn about the school’s history and its exciting future. The Founders’ Day activities help our spirits and bring us closer as students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends.”

Emily Jones, university archivist, has been working closely with the DSA to bring the event together.

“We celebrate our anniversary not for our own benefit, but for those before us and those who will come after us,” said Jones. “I enjoy spotlighting our history, and I’m thankful that we have the platform of our anniversary to do that each year.”

Stay up to date on all university events and activities at http://www.deltastate.edu.

Delta State offers events before GRAMMY Museum Mississippi opens

By | Academics, Community, Delta Center, Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff, GRAMMY | No Comments

In anticipation of GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi’s grand opening March 5-6, Delta State University is offering a series of events gearing up for the unveiling of only the second GRAMMY museum in the world — located right next to Delta State’s campus.

The Bologna Performing Arts Center kicks off the schedule Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. by bringing some of the GRAMMY’s Los Angeles roots to the Delta with the performance of “BODYTRAFFIC.”

Internationally recognized for performing commissioned work by many of today’s top choreographers, “BODYTRAFFIC” is one of the most talked about young dance companies. Tickets range from $25-39. For more information, call the ticket office at 662-846-4626.

The BPAC will also be providing full tours of its facilities, including the stage and backstage areas. A BPAC staff member will reveal what the stars and VIPs see. To schedule a free private tour, call 662-846-4625.

Delta State art professor Ron Koehler, will be leading free scheduled tours of the Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden, located in front of the BPAC and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. Some of the sculptures have also been established across campus to provide a unique artistic influence. Tours will take place Tuesday at 10 a.m. and Thursday at 1:30 p.m., beginning in front of the museum. For more information, contact Koehler at 662-846-4720.

The Delta Music Institute has planned a series of events leading up to the grand opening. DMI student bands present free live performances Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. in DMI Studio A. Featured bands include Ol’ Skool Revue, DeltaRoX and B4Y2K. For more information, contact the DMI office at 662-846-4579 or dmi@deltastate.edu.

Also on Tuesday and Thursday, from 3-5 p.m., the DMI will provide open house tours and live performances in studios A, B, C and the “Sandbox.” Live session demonstrations will take place in each studio and students will record music through the state-of-the-art technology and equipment. For more information, contact the DMI 662-846-4579 or dmi@deltastate.edu.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning on campus will be providing two scheduled presentations.

In partnership with the College of Education & Human Sciences, the DCCL presents “Down Home” Delta Cooking Session on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., free of charge, in the first floor lobby of Ewing Hall. Food is a big deal in the Mississippi Delta, and this session features a faculty member and students cooking and conversing about authentic Delta delicacies like okra and tomatoes, pimento cheese and barbecue. The demonstration features Dr. Virginia Webb and the Student Dietetic Association. For more information, contact the DCCL at 662-846-4311.

On Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the DCCL presents the gallery talk “A Cast of Blues,” featuring Sharon McConnell-Dickerson, the artist behind the historic “A Cast of Blues” collection. The 55 original “life casts” are three-dimensional sculptures created with damp gauze and plaster, which capture the facial structure of legendary blues musicians. The event is free and also takes place in the first floor lobby of Ewing Hall. For more information, contact the DCCL at 662-846-4311.

The public is also welcome to explore the University Archives located at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building on campus. Free of charge, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Archives presents a variety of topics related to the history, people, places and events of the Mississippi Delta.

Exhibits and museums currently available for viewing include:
* Delta State University’s 90th Anniversary Exhibit
* Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum:
An exhibit that begins with the stories of the first Chinese sojourners who ventured to the Mississippi Delta.
* Shop History: The Delta Cream Donut Legacy:
This special exhibit pays tribute to a local icon of the Delta landscape.
* Lucy Somerville Howorth Seminar Room:
Explore some of the women who have dedicated their lives and efforts to encouraging success in the Delta, as well as promoting the Delta to the world.
* “Inning by Inning: A Life in Baseball,” the Dave “Boo” Ferriss Baseball Museum:
This museum captures the life and experiences of legendary DSU baseball coach Ferriss and his relationship with baseball throughout his lifetime. Contact University Archivist Emily Jones for viewing times at the Ferriss museum.

For more information on the Archives exhibits, contact Jones at 662-846-4781, or ejones@deltastate.edu.

GRAMMY Museum Mississippi will officially open its doors to the public on Saturday morning. The grand opening will be celebrated with a slate of activities from March 3–6. For more information, visit http://www.grammymuseumms.org.