Historic Natchez Foundation ready for busy month in January

Published 12:15 am Monday, January 8, 2018

By Sabrina Simms

NATCHEZ — The Historic Natchez Foundation is preparing for a busy month with two major events planned for January.

On Jan. 18, the foundation will host its annual meeting and cocktail party at the foundation’s headquarters at 108 S. Commerce St.

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From 5:30 to 7:30 pm, the event will highlight some of the achievements and success stories from last year, HNF Executive Director Mimi Miller said.

“There have been a lot of sales of historic houses downtown, and we’d like to encourage those people to come out to our annual meeting so that we can thank them for investing in downtown Natchez,” Miller said.

As in past years, the annual meeting will honor some of the best in historic preservation from 2017.

This year, the meeting will also highlight a special exhibit of original artwork by local artist Jamey Hudnall.

Miller said the meeting would also feature details about an upcoming guided tour of three Jackson museums — the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the Mississippi Museum of History, and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

The sponsored trip called Mississippi Museum Mania will be Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27 and is for members of the Historic Natchez Foundation. Participants have the option to drive or take advantage of bus transportation throughout the tour, Miller said.

The bus will depart from the HNF headquarters at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26.

The cost of the trip is $245 per person and will cover transportation, meals, hotel room with double occupancy and the tour itself.

One highlight of the tour will be a new art exhibit that opened in December at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Friday night, the museum will be opened for an exclusive private tour for participants only. Those who only wish to participate in this part of the trip can do so for $50 per person, Miller said.

For Miller, the art exhibit is a unique opportunity that is “fleeting” because many of the paintings are borrowed from various locations across the country. Two galleries are reserved just for Natchez artworks, including  John Audubon’s famous landscape painting of Natchez.

“It was painted here by Audubon in 1823, who lived in the city until about 1876 or ’77. It is now owned by a museum in South Carolina and is returning after this exhibit,” said Miller.

Another notable painting, Miller said, is a portrait of an enslaved woman, Delia, by James R. Lambdin. This life-size portrait typically hangs in New York City.

Lambdin had strong familial ties to Natchez, Miller said.

Natchez native Joanna Biglane McNeel, the former registrar of the museum, wrote her master’s thesis on Lambdin and will be present at the tour, along with Interim Chief Curator Jochen Wierich.

The Mississippi Museum of History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum recently opened with a blockbuster event on Dec. 10, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the state of Mississippi. Both museums are owned by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Miller said the Mississippi Museum Mania tour is an excellent opportunity to visit these museums for those who haven’t had a chance to already.

“I think the Department of Archives and History deserves a lot of credit because they have not sugar-coated our history,” Miller said.