CANTON, Miss. (AP) _ Nissan Motor Co. is donating $500,000 to help fund exhibits and a dining area at two Mississippi history museums being built in downtown Jackson.
The Japanese automaker made the announcement Monday at its Canton plant, along with former Mississippi Govs. William Winter and Ronnie Musgrove.
The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum have met their goal of $12 million in private donations for exhibits. They’re also seeking to raise $4 million to endow operations. State government has promised $74 million, mostly borrowed, to pay for construction and exhibits. That’s less than the $87 million sought by the Department of Archives and History, and the department says it will seek more public money next year to help complete exhibits and furnish the building.
The museums will share one structure. Construction started in December 2013, and opening is scheduled in December 2017 as part of Mississippi’s bicentennial celebration.
The Nissan money will be used in part to fund exhibits in a civil rights museum gallery called “I Question America.” Taken from a quote by Fannie Lou Hamer, the gallery will focus on 1963 and 1964, including voter registration campaigns and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
The company also will give the front grille from a Mississippi-built 2015 Nissan Murano for a display in the history museum.
The dining area will help accommodate the projected 180,000 visitors a year to the museums.
“This project seeks to tell the full story of Mississippi’s past while also magnifying hopes for the future,” Jeffrey Webster, director of diversity and inclusion for Nissan North America, said in a statement. “This contribution continues Nissan’s commitment to diversity, education and service in our community.”