The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum has a new introductory film in its newly named Gertrude C. Ford Foundation Theatre.

The entrance to the Gertrude C. Ford Theatre at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Credit: Rick Cleveland

The 15-minute presentation was produced through a grant from the Jackson-based Gertrude C. Ford Foundation.

The museum, which turned 20 last July, still showed the original theater presentation until recently.

“Our original theater presentation was outstanding and served us well, but so much has happened in the last 20 years where Mississippi sports is concerned,” said museum’s executive director Bill Blackwell. “This catches us up. We are thankful to the foundation for its support.”

The original film was produced while the museum was under construction. The new one, Blackwell points out, introduces visitors to the museum and shows them much of what they are about to see in the museum itself.

The film features interviews with Archie Manning, Boo Ferriss and Victoria Vivians and shows many of Mississippi’s most meaningful sports moments and greatest heroes.

The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation has distributed more than $78 million to many causes, mostly to Mississippi higher education and youth services, during its 18 years in existence.

So why the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum?

“In Mississippi, sports are so much a part of our heritage and our daily lives,” said Cheryle Sims, president of the foundation’s board of directors. “This museum houses so much Mississippi history that our children need to learn about and take pride in. I know I learned a lot I did not know from watching the film.”

The museum is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.