Toyota gives $750,000 to Civil Rights, History museums

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Gov. Phil Bryant and Speaker Phil Gunn accept a donation from Toyota officials for the state’s two museums opening in December 2017.

Toyota is giving $750,000 to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for the state’s two new Mississippi Museum projects.

The Foundation for Mississippi History has raised more than $17 million in gifts and pledges for the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The Legislature has invested $90 million for construction and exhibits for the museums, scheduled to open for the state’s bicentennial in December.

Sean Suggs, Toyota Mississippi’s vice president of manufacturing, noted that Toyota and Mississippi have a long relationship — 2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of Toyota’s plant in Blue Springs.

Toyota’s donation will fund programming for both museums, as well as the design of the Toyota Gallery at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and traveling exhibits to northeast Mississippi, the site of Toyota’s manufacturing facility.

“This is one of the most significant building projects the state has ever undertaken,” said Haley Fisackerly, president of Entergy Mississippi. “The Civil Rights Museum will be the first state-constructed and state-operated Civil Rights Museum in the country. Totaling more than 2,000 square feet, the two Mississippi Museums will present the history of our state like you never read it, seen it or heard it.”

Gov. Phil Bryant said the museums would depict Mississippi’s rich history.

“(They) will show the trials and tribulations, but also the victories and the honors. It is a history that needs telling by Mississippians. Thanks to (the Department of) Archives and History and those that went out and ran so hard to make sure we were ahead in this race by raising $17 million in private money,” Bryant said.