Perkins+Will Designs Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

The museum will share a lobby and courtyard with the Museum of Mississippi History. Image courtesy Perkins+Will.

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (MCRM) will open this week in Jackson, Mississippi, as the latest project in the Perkins+Will portfolio. The firm collaborated with architect of record ECD, a joint venture of three-firms: Eley Guild Hardy Architects, Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons, PA, and Dale Partners.

“Our team was moved by the incredible stories of African American Mississippians, and how the systematic oppression they experienced led to a prolonged struggle for equality that ultimately changed history,” says Phil Freelon of Perkins+Will. “The architecture of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum honors this struggle and sets the stage for visitors to learn about and experience these heroic stories.”

Image courtesy Perkins+Will.

MCRM will open alongside the Museum of Mississippi History as part of the state’s bicentennial celebration. The two institutions will share a lobby, civic plaza, and open-air courtyard. The museum’s western elevation, which faces the entry plaza, is conceived to emphasize the belief that conflicting lines of tension ultimately can unite toward resolution. Composed of terracotta panels, the concept serves as an introduction to the eight internal galleries within the 70,000-square-foot museum that will chronicle the history of the Mississippi Movement between 1945 and 1970.

Images courtesy Perkins+Will.

The design draws inspiration from the gospel song “This Little Light of Mine,” and convey its themes of light penetrating darkness with a cylindrical space at the end of the galleries. The room will be outfitted with a skylit oculus that extends through the roof plane as well as openings in the east, west, and south elevations. The design will ultimately allow the filtration of light into the central exhibition space.