Historic Natchez Foundation hosts meeting, exhibit, tour of renovations Thursday

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, January 8, 2019


NATCHEZ — Thursday’s annual meeting of the Historic Natchez Foundation is not a “meeting” in the customary sense of the word, said Mimi Miller, the former executive director of the Foundation.

This year’s meeting, which is free and open to the public, includes a cocktail reception, a photography exhibit by an award-winning photographer for The Natchez Democrat, Ben Hillyer, a presentation of 13 different awards to Natchezians for their contributions and historic preservation efforts and a newly renovated basement earmarked for the preservation of historic records and documents, Miller said.

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The meeting lasts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Thursday at HNF’s headquarters in the Natchez Institute at 108 S. Commerce St., Miller said, and introduces some of the newly elected officers on the HNF board of directors.

Miller, who served as the executive director of the board for more than a decade, has passed that title to Carter Burns, a 1998 graduate of Trinity Episcopal School who received his master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Georgia last May.

“To the great delight of my life, I now work for Carter Burns,” Miller said, adding that Burns worked for the Foundation in his high school and early college years. “The Foundation is in new hands and the most capable hands that I can imagine.”

Burns said he is excited to become a part of the Foundation once again, with Miller’s continued guidance as an involved member of the board.

“I look forward to continuing the success that the Foundation has had and being a part of the historic preservation of Natchez,” Burns said.

The Foundation has a lot to look forward to this year, starting with the grand opening of the Natchez collections management center this Thursday, located in the basement of the Natchez Institute, Burns said.

The center’s construction, funded in part by grants from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, lasted most of 2018 and features state-of-the-art climate control technology designed to keep artifacts and county records preserved and protected against floods, fires and any other harm, he said.

“This project will make our records and collections more accessible to researchers,” Burns said.

The Foundation aims to transform the first floor of the Natchez Institute into a Natchez history museum with each classroom hosting exhibits in art, culture and Natchez heritage, Burns said.

“(The center) is a huge step towards turning the first floor of the Natchez Institute into a Natchez history museum … and allows us to gain museum certification.” Burns said. “We are so excited to show off this project that we’ve recently completed.”