Mississippi Department of Archives and History
by Angela Riotto
University of Southern Mississippi
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) is located in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in downtown Jackson. The state archive boasts 126,000 cubic feet of records, including government documents, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and oral histories on a variety of Mississippi topics.
Despite their wealth of resources, the MDAH does not require a research appointment. Before visiting the archive, a researcher should browse the MDAH’s easy-to-use online catalog. If one is unable to do so, the archive has several computers for finding and requesting documents. In order to request documents online, scholars must first visit the archive and register for a research card. To register, a researcher must present a valid form of ID and fill out a short form. With a research card, scholars may order documents from the Archival Reading Room, wander the stacks in the Public Reading Room, and choose and load his or her microfilm and microfiche in the Media Reading Room.
Each research table in the Public and Archival Reading Rooms contains multiple outlets where researchers may plug in their laptops and battery chargers. Keep in mind, however, that the MDAH does not have wireless Internet. Anyone wishing to use a camera should speak to a staff member before photographing any document. A fee may apply to take photographs. The archive has a public pay-per-use copier for $.20 per copy. For oversized documents and all manuscript materials the staff can make copies for $.25 per copy. To pay for copies, one must put money on their research card using a small kiosk. A researcher should bring small bills and coins, because the kiosk does not provide change.
The MDAH is located off of Exit 98 on I-55 near the intersection of interstates 49, 55, and 20. Close to downtown Jackson, the MDAH is within walking distance of several sandwich shops and fast food restaurants. If researchers do not want to leave for lunch, the archive permits food in the lockers, and there are several vending machines in the lobby. There is no communal eating room, but the lobby has several tables and comfortable chairs. There are a number of hotels near the archives, but Jackson does not have public transportation, so a vehicle is required. Parking is free for archive patrons. A cost conscience researcher could stay and eat in Jackson for an estimated cost of $80-$90 a day. Additionally, Jackson is only 90 minutes from Hattiesburg, Vicksburg, or Meridian via I-49 and I-20.