Wilkinson County mounds to be part of new exhibit at Woodville museum

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, June 26, 2019


WOODVILLE — A brand new exhibit that highlights two of Wilkinson County’s sites on the Mississippi mound trail will be on display at the Wilkinson County Museum in downtown Woodville starting Saturday.

A kick-off celebration for the exhibit lasts from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Wilkinson County Museum and the African-American Museum located across the square.

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The celebration includes hands-on activities for kids and a music performance by Natchez native, YZ Ealey that are free and open to the public.

Attendees may also bring their own collections of Native American artifacts, such as pottery pieces, projectile points and stone tools, and receive more information about them from on-hand archaeological experts.

Exhibit curator, Megan Kassabaum, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, said the exhibit has been in development since last year as she and her students were doing excavation projects at the Lessley and Smith Creek mound sites west of Woodville.

“We realized we had so much more information than we could fit in a small paragraph on the back of a mound trail marker,” Kassabaum said, “and we wanted to share that information.”

Kassabaum said the contrasting cultures of the indigenous persons and white settlers along the Lower Mississippi River were both able to utilize the rich resources in similar ways.

With support from the director of the Woodville and Wilkinson County Main Street Association, Polly Rosenblatt, Kassabaum and two student curators, Arielle Pierson and Erin Spicola, worked to piece together movable panels and displays that carry their viewers back in time to visit the people who lived in the area 2,000 years ago, Kassabaum said.

“Our hope is that we can get people to actually go out and visit these amazing places that are right in their backyard,” Kassabaum said.

The exhibit also includes three glass cases that showcase Native American artifacts such as jewelry, spearheads and arrowheads, cooking tools and utensils and pieces of pottery as well as two handmade replica pots produced by Tammy Beane of Southern Mud.

Kassabaum said the exhibit was made possible by grants, donations and support from the Mississippi Development Authority’s Visit Mississippi, the Mississippi Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Hassenfeld Foundation Social Impact Research Grant and the Penn Museum and Penn Department of Anthropology.