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Flags from Mississippi: Emblems Through Time

  • Rare flags showcasing state and national history to go on display at Two Mississippi Museums March 9 through November 8, 2024.

For centuries, entities from kings to countries have flown flags. Flags have traditionally represented places, cultures, organizations, and causes. The inhabitants of Mississippi have also chosen to symbolize their culture and beliefs with colorful textiles, mostly in the form of a flag.  

The staff of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) has curated an educational exhibit to share twenty flags in the FedEx Exhibition Hall at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson. Flags from Mississippi: Emblems Through Time opens March 9. Rarely shown state, national, and military flags from the collection of the MDAH will be on display through November 8. Many of the flags wear the scars of battle, weather while representing beliefs and symbols of their time.

“The Two Mississippi Museums are excited to share this free, special flag exhibition curated by MDAH staff,” said Michael Morris, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “We invite the public to explore and examine how flags illustrate the various ways inhabitants of Mississippi have chosen to symbolize threads of culture and belief throughout time.” 

The twenty flags featured in the exhibit are made from a variety of fabrics, such as wool and silk. Some were sewn by hand.

Highlights include an original Magnolia flag, adopted in 1861 as the first official flag of Mississippi, that has been saved by conservators after it became severely fragmented. 

The show also includes military flags and battle flags captured during the Civil War. Visitors will see the First National Flag of the Confederacy, commonly known as the Stars and Bars, which was seized by Samuel Loring Percival Ayers of the USS Pensacola at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863.

Another highlight is a reproduction of the 5th Heavy Artillery Regimental flag of the United States Colored Troops, an African American regiment formed in Vicksburg that fought in the Battle of Milliken’s Bend. 

A flag officially adopted by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in 1994 displays symbols expressing resilience, progress achieved in the face of adversity, and Choctaw political ties spanning the last 500 years with Mississippi, the United States, Spain, and France. 

Flags From Mississippi: Emblems Through Time exhibit programming includes free gallery talks on March 14, June 14, and August 22, and a lecture at the History is Lunch program on August 21.  

Admission to this exhibit is free to the public. For more information, click here or call 601-576-6850. 

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