- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Companies and other private donors have given $13 million to help pay for two Mississippi history museums that are set to open in 2017. Now, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO Haley Fisackerly says another $4 million is sought to reach a private fundraising goal.

Fisackerly announced the financial push Thursday to hundreds of business people at a meeting sponsored by Mississippi Economic Council, the state chamber of commerce.

“These two museums will highlight not just a Mississippi story, but an American story,” Fisackerly said.

The Legislature has already committed $74 million of state money to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. When then-Gov. Haley Barbour pushed for the state to put money into the museums in 2011, he said he wanted private donations to help pay for the projects.

The side-by-side structures are being built near the Capitol in downtown Jackson and are set to open for the state’s bicentennial in December 2017.

In a short film shown Thursday to promote the museums, Department of Archives and History executive director Katie Blount said one goal is to ensure that every student in Mississippi will visit the museums at least once during elementary or secondary school. She said private donations could help cover some of those expenses.

Reuben Anderson, a former state Supreme Court Justice who serves on the Archives and History board, said in the film that the museums “will be the largest classroom in Mississippi.”

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Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.

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