University Launches New IMC Online Graduate Degree Program

Students can enroll in graduate degree program this fall

Students can now earn an IMC graduate degree online through a new program. The application deadline is July 31. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications.

OXFORD, Miss. – Interested professionals can earn a graduate degree in integrated marketing communication completely online through the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi starting in August.

This program is designed to give mid-career professionals an opportunity to learn how to use communication to connect people and organizations, without having to uproot their lives to become full-time students on a college campus. It also is opening the school’s programs to students around the world.

The master’s program in integrated marketing communication allows online students to take the same courses as residential students, with the only differences being the flexibility of delivery and the sequence of the courses.

“Demand is high for advanced study in how integrate communication efforts to influence people’s behavior but moving to Oxford to complete a graduate degree is quite difficult for people who are working full time and have other obligations,” said Robert Magee, program director and assistant professor of IMC.

Students can complete the 36-credit-hour degree program in two years by taking courses throughout the fall, spring and summer semesters.

“Because the online program is designed for people who are working full time, courses will be offered one at a time in the half-semesters and summer sessions,” Magee said. “This will enable a student to focus energy on each course and advance in a systematic way.”

The curriculum combines theory, insight and real-world application in the areas of audience research, analytics, creative production and brand strategy.

The demand for more education in the constantly changing industry of IMC is national and international, and this is the most effective way for professionals to pursue this degree, said Will Norton, UM journalism dean.

“We have partnerships in other nations with universities and schools that would like their graduates and students to be able to pursue our graduate degree program in integrated marketing communication,” Norton said.

Graduates are prepared for leadership roles in advertising and public relations agencies, corporations, media, nonprofit organizations, health care, political communication and sports.

The university’s IMC program was introduced in 2012 for undergraduate and graduate studies. Ole Miss is one of just a few institutions to offer this type of specialized degree, which has resulted in tremendous increase in student enrollment within the journalism school during the last six years.

Faculty members hope this program will offer unique opportunities for students, no matter where they live.

“People around the world will gain access to the knowledge and skills they need to influence behavior,” Magee said.

The application deadline is July 31. To apply for the program, click here. To learn more about the journalism and IMC programs at Ole Miss, visit

‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ Comes to Ford Center Tuesday

Tony Award-winning show features dazzling costumes and scenes from the classic fairy tale

Featuring dazzling costumes and musical numbers, the national touring production of ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ comes to the Ford Center for a performance at 7:30 p.m. April 24. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will host “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” for one performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 24).

The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, from the creators of “The Sound of Music,” puts a contemporary twist on the classic fairy tale. Featuring dazzling costumes and scenes, the performance transports viewers back to their childhood through memorable moments, including the pumpkin, the glass slipper and the masked ball.

A live orchestra will perform some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner” and “Ten Minutes Ago.”

Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director, said she is excited to bring this funny and romantic Broadway experience to Oxford.

“Cinderella is such a fun story, and this is the same production that won a Tony when it was on Broadway in 2013,” she said. “We are sure that our audiences will enjoy it and have a magical time.”

Tickets are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ford Center or online at

They are $75 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $69 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels and $63 for the balcony level. A 10 percent discount is available for UM faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office. UM student tickets are $25 for the orchestra/parterre level and $17 for the mezzanine/balcony level.

Ole Miss Theatre Presents ‘Macbeth’ this Weekend at the Ford Center

Performance is directed by Cynthia White of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater

UM students Riley McManus, as Macbeth, and Karen Ann Patti, as Lady Macbeth, perform in the Ole Miss Theatre production of ‘Macbeth’ this weekend at the Ford Center. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi theater students will bring Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth” to life this weekend with a performance at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The classic Shakespeare tale, set in medieval Scotland, chronicles the rise and fall of the warrior Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, as they lust for power and grab an easy opportunity to kill the reigning king, leading to a civil war in the kingdom.

The Ole Miss Theatre production opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday (April 20), but there are multiple chances to catch the show throughout the weekend. Performances are also set for 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The production is led by guest director Cynthia White, from the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, whose expertise in Shakespearean tragedies creates a unique opportunity for both the student actors and audiences. White has directed several Shakespearean plays at regional theatres and universities across the country.

“I think it’s especially great that Ole Miss brought in a woman director for this large production at the Ford Center, since it’s important to give the students the opportunity to work with a wide range of professionals in their field – and after many years in the field, it still seems to be of note that I am a woman director,” White said.

Joe Turner Cantu, Ole Miss professor of theatre arts, taught White many years ago at Southern Methodist University. She has since directed him in two Shakespeare productions, and he recommended her to the department as a guest director because of her extensive knowledge.

“Last year I recommended Cynthia, first, because she is an exceptional director and, second, because I felt it would be great for our students to work with a professional female director,” Cantu said.

White hosted on-campus auditions in January and has cast 21 students in the production. The performance stays true to the story itself, but the design, costumes and lighting are influenced by the HBO drama “Game of Thrones.”

“In Shakespeare’s time, all the actors were men and costumes were basically their everyday Elizabethan clothing,” she said. “For our production, some of the warriors are women because some of the women in the theatre department are very good at working with the period weapons and because our world is more diverse than Shakespeare’s world was.”

White said she is creating a hybrid world that has strong elements of medieval Scotland, including violence, manipulation and immorality, all of which reflect the present day.

“It is nearly impossible to tell the tale of Macbeth without noticing certain similarities with our current world,” she said. “And that’s what makes theatre powerful: we tell old stories that shed light on our contemporary lives.”

Tickets are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ford Center or online at They are $21 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $18 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels and $15 for the balcony level. A 20 percent discount is available for UM faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office. All Ole Miss student tickets are $7.

Journalism Professor Releases Book Examining RFK’s Delta Visit

Ellen Meacham to sign copies new work Wednesday at Square Books.

Ellen Meacham

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi journalism professor Ellen Meacham details Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to the Mississippi Delta in 1967 in her new book “Delta Epiphany: RFK in Mississippi.”

Meacham’s book, published by University Press of Mississippi, examines the history, economics and politics of the Delta and how those factors influenced the lives of people whom Kennedy met there during that visit. She will sign copies at 5 p.m. Wednesday (April 18) at Square Books in Oxford.

The book was inspired by a description from fellow journalist Curtis Wilkie’s memoir of Kennedy in a dark shack trying to speak to a toddler who was paying more attention to crumbs on the floor.

“I wondered about the impact it had on Kennedy, because it’s mentioned as an important moment in all of his biographies,” Meacham said. “The next question I had was, ‘What happened to the baby?'”

After seven years of searching, Meacham found and interviewed children from the four families Kennedy encountered on his visit, including that toddler.

“As I got into the research, I realized pretty quickly that there was a big part of the story that had not been told,” she said. “Most of the contemporary news accounts and later historians had only looked at RFK on the stage. The people who were living the lives that moved him so were more of a ‘poverty stage set.'”

Meacham wanted to tell the stories of those people.

“It became very important to me to bring those families into the light and find out how they came to be in that place at that time, what struggles they faced and their accomplishments since,” she said. “I think it brings more balance.

“It’s not just a story of a hero or a saint, it’s about a real person meeting real people.”

The book also features about a dozen photos, including the cover, that are published for the first time.

“The photographs were essential to telling this story,” Meacham said. “They brought such a vivid realism that showed the impact of the visit on Kennedy in a powerful way.”

A working journalist for more than two decades, Meacham used her experience as a newspaper reporter in Mississippi, which gave her access to contacts within both politics and journalism in the state, putting her in a unique position to tell these stories.

“Ellen Meacham is a talented and perceptive journalist who recognized, nearly a half-century after the fact, the great impact of Robert Kennedy’s brief trip to the Mississippi Delta in 1967,” said Wilkie, a UM associate professor of journalism and fellow of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

“It was a mission that changed his life, the tortured history of that region and the nation’s attitude toward hungry people in America. Though Ellen was not old enough to have been there, her investigation of the story has brought it back to life, and it is an example of her valuable work.”

Group Brings Discussions of Slavery, Historic Preservation to UM

Several events set for students, faculty, staff and community members

The UM Slavery Research Group is hosting Joseph McGill to talk about the preservation of slave dwellings. McGill will host an overnight stay in the old kitchen behind Rowan Oak for select students and faculty members. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group will host several events April 18-22 that explore the stories of enslaved people in north Mississippi.

“Slave Dwellings: Rediscovering the Enslaved in North Mississippi” aims to discuss the narratives of the lives of enslaved people and the houses in which they lived.

“The goal of these events is to bring attention to the issue of slavery as it relates to the history of our campus,” said Jeffrey Jackson, UMSRG co-chair and associate professor of sociology. “We also hope to emphasize the importance of historical preservation and the need to preserve existing slave houses in the area.”

Jobie Hill, historic preservation architect, will deliver a lecture during a brown bag lunch on saving slave houses. Hill has conducted research to examine the homes of American slaves and started a database in 2012 to protect these structures and the information they provide to historians.

Slave Dwelling Project founder Joseph McGill also will deliver a presentation. The project’s mission is to raise awareness of these dwellings and assist with their preservation.

McGill, a descendant of slaves, had traveled to nearly 100 historic sites in more than 18 states to give lectures and spend the night in the slave dwellings.

“Now that I have the attention of the public by sleeping in extant slave dwellings, it is time to wake up and deliver the message that the people who lived in these structures were not a footnote in American history,” he said.

McGill will host an overnight stay for 12 Ole Miss history, sociology and anthropology students and faculty members in the old kitchen behind Rowan Oak.

“We hope that students who will be sleeping over with Joseph McGill will develop a deeper appreciation of what life was like for the enslaved and that this event will help us remember the legacies of slavery for our campus and our nation,” Jackson said.

This will be McGill’s fifth visit to the UM campus.

“He is looking forward to the opportunity to discuss preserving structures where slaves lived,” said Chuck Ross, UMSRG co-chair and director of African American studies. “His visits to these locations are helping to facilitate discussions about the institution of slavery, more importantly and specifically about the lives of the slaves themselves.”

The Slavery Research Group also will conduct a campus tour, detailing the history of slavery on campus.

The UMSRG has also partnered with the city of Holly Springs for this year’s “Behind the Big House” programming. The preservation initiative is aimed at interpreting the legacy of slavery through educational efforts and examination of historic sites.

This year’s focus is the Hugh Craft House, its slave quarters and kitchen on Memphis Street in Holly Springs. McGill will return to the site to spend the night in the structures.

Carolyn Freiwald, assistant professor of anthropology, will take students to the site to conduct an excavation of the slave quarters and kitchen area. A table exhibit of past finds at the site will be on display for the public.

The events are sponsored by the UM Slavery Research Group, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Preserve Marshall County, Holly Springs Inc. and the Whiting Foundation.

Here is a full schedule of events that are free and open to the public:

Wednesday (April 18)

Saving Slave Houses – Noon, Barnard Observatory Tupelo Room

Slavery on Campus History Tour – 2 p.m., meet at the Department of Archives and Special Collections on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library

The Slave Dwelling Project – 4 p.m., Barnard Observatory Tupelo Room

Friday (April 20)

Slavery in Antebellum North Mississippi – 4 p.m., Holly Springs Depot, 540 Van Dorn Ave., Holly Springs. Max Grivno, University of Southern Mississippi professor and historian, will deliver a lecture on his research.

For more information, visit

UM Museum Opens ‘Ruin is a Secret Oasis’ Exhibit

Artist Maysey Craddock draws inspiration from structures throughout the South

The exhibit ‘Ruin is a Secret Oasis,’ now open at the UM Museum, displays artist Maysey Craddock’s work including this piece, titled ‘Somewhere South of Violet.’ Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A new exhibit featuring artist-transformed images of ruined structures throughout the South is open at the University of Mississippi Museum.

“Ruin is a Secret Oasis,” by artist Maysey Craddock, references images of objects and places throughout the region. Craddock said she is drawn to mysterious traces of memories, and her pieces seek the sense of place inspired by these sites and work to reflect a story of change.

“I believe ruin, in the sense that it is a place and moment where the traces of human action are falling into the inevitable, is a constant progress that is nature,” Craddock said. “There is a lineage of this in art history and the idea that ruin presents a space for contemplation and collapses time.

“It is, to me, stillness, haunted, history, memory, nature, reclamation, collapse, re-forming, ghost, possibility. In ruin, I find an oasis, a world within our world that is a hush of layers of time and experience.”

Craddock’s work uses opaque pigments in water that are thickened with a binding substance, known as gouache. These intricate works, based on her own photographs of ruined structures near Memphis, Oxford and the Gulf Coast, allow her to explore the fleeting and transitory nature of each landscape.

“In the studio, the photographs are a way for me to continue to be intimate with the landscape, to dive into the wild spaces, find the magic of small moments or openings in the vegetation,” she said. “When I translate the images into drawing, I am re-forming the image to my own hand, distancing it from the photograph and therefore from any kind of literal recording of the original scene.”

The photograph is just a starting point for Craddock, as she also takes time to think about the hues and atmosphere during her physical experience at the site. A line drawing is made from each photograph and then transferred via carbon paper onto a handmade substrate of sewn-together paper bags.

“The use of found paper provides a terrain for the image, retains an object-ness that underscores the image itself,” she said. “In a way, this constructing of the material from found or discarded fragments mirrors the content of the work.

“I paint ruins, on materials that are pieced together from other tiny ruins.

Craddock said one of the most satisfying experiences she has as an artist is when someone sees something out in his or her daily experience in a different way, which in turn affects the way he or she encounters the natural world.

“They would not have noticed it in such a thoughtful way before, but something about seeing my work went with them out into the world, and they slowed down and paid attention to something that was invisible before,” she said. “My work does the same thing for me. It teaches me to be observant, to be awake and aware when I am moving through the world.

“I think the best art continues on with the viewer afterwards. It re-contextualizes how we experience what we see, literally broadening our horizons.”

Maysey Craddock’s work, including this painting titled ‘Gravity Sky,’ is on exhibit at the UM Museum. Submitted photo

Craddock earned degrees from Tulane University and the Maine College of Art, and most of her time is divided between two studios – one in Memphis, Tennessee and one on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and in Germany and is featured in permanent collections at the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis and the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.

Besides artwork, Craddock has worked with other artists and the regional nonprofit grant organization ArtsMemphis to create its inaugural program of grants for individual artists.

“The University of Mississippi Museum is exceptionally honored to be exhibiting the work of Memphis artist Maysey Craddock, a painter we have long admired and whose works in the show ‘Ruin is a Secret Oasis’ have a particularly compelling and evocative power,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“Ms. Craddock has assembled for this show a group of paintings dealing with the idea of architectural ruins and their reclamation in the landscape. She is an artist of great skill, unique creative process and extraordinary conceptual depth – bringing works here to Oxford that we are certain our audiences will find fascinating to view and reflect upon.”

An opening reception for the exhibit is set for 6-8 p.m. April 19. Craddock also will deliver a guest artist lecture and gallery walk-through at 6 p.m. May 3 at the museum. For more information about the museum, visit

ACT 8 Experience Brings Magazine Industry Leaders to UM

Journalism students can interact with industry leaders at eighth annual media conference

OXFORD, Miss. – “Print Proud and Digital Smart” is the message of this year’s ACT 8 Experience, a one-of-a-kind magazine media conference at the University of Mississippi.

The ACT Experience, which stands for “amplify, clarify and testify,” is hosted by the Magazine Innovation Center at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. This year’s conference, set for Tuesday through Friday (April 17-20), brings in the top names in every aspect of the magazine media industry for the only comprehensive conference of its kind in the country.

This year, the discussions focus on a multiplatform approach to magazine media brands, whether in print or digital. The main goal of the experience is to have students directly interact with industry professionals with the goal of landing a job in the magazine industry.

“The idea is that the experience is student-driven,” said Samir Husni, Ole Miss journalism professor and Magazine Innovation Center director. “That’s why these professionals come here. The presence of students in the audience has a positive effect on the speaker, in which they lose their guard and engage more freely with the future industry leaders when they are at an academic setting.”

Husni launched the annual conference in 2010 with 14 featured speakers. After just eight years, the conference has grown to feature more than 30 speakers and nearly 100 total attendees, including CEOs of major magazine and marketing companies, publishers, editors and other industry leaders.

Journalism and magazine students have opportunities to network with industry professionals from major companies including Hearst, Meredith, Trusted Media Brands, LSC Communications, Sappi Paper Co. North America, Democrat Printing, James G. Elliott Co., and Delta Magazine.

Jim Elliott, president of the James G. Elliott Co., has served as a sponsor for all past ACT conferences and has attended six. Elliott said this conference is by far his favorite.

“It is the most interactive and informative of all the conferences due to the way it is set up,” Elliott said. “It is not only the speakers and attendees, but also the interaction with the students that makes this so valuable. I’ve always gotten a number of great ideas from this conference, and as an added plus, a number of summer interns.”

Anna Grace Usery, a graduate student in integrated marketing communications from Elkmont, Alabama, hopes to strengthen her established relationships with industry professionals and gain more insight into today’s magazine industry.

“Even though it can be overwhelming to realize these professionals hold impressive titles, they still enjoy conversation with us students because they know we are the future magazine industry leaders,” Usery said. “They understand their love for all things magazines extends to providing an avenue for future leaders to succeed, which is the essence of this conference.”

Each year, students have received job offers as a result of the experience, Husni said.

“They have a captive audience with these CEOs, and some of them leave an impression,” Husni said. “Our ultimate goal as professors is to get a job for those students. I feel like we fail the students if we don’t provide them with jobs when they graduate.

“Anytime we put students first, including them in these events becomes the normal thing to do.”

Students also will accompany registered participants on a trip through the Delta to experience the music, food and culture of north Mississippi. The group will travel to Clarksdale to visit the Delta Blues Museum and the Shack Up Inn, ending the day with dinner and music at Ground Zero Blues Club.

“As a man who attends a dozen media conferences a year, Dr. Samir Husni’s ACT Experience at the University of Mississippi is the best,” said Bo Sacks, president of Precision Media Group. “There is no other event that mixes students and professionals in such an intimate and thoughtful environment.

“It is an opportunity for students to meet and mingle with top magazine leadership and sometimes even get a job. I have made lasting friendships there and look forward to it every year.”

ACT 8 Experience lectures will explore a range of topics related to the magazine industry, including storytelling, advertising, creating digital platforms, reaching audiences and creating the best print product.

All lectures are free and open to the public and will be conducted in the Overby Center Auditorium. Registration for the conference includes all meals, additional sessions and transportation to and from the Delta.

A full schedule and registration can be found at

Museum Hosts Buie Babies Stroller Tour

Children ages 2 and under can participate in playtime activities with their families

Children under 2 participate in museum activities with their parents. The museum invites families and children to the Buie Babies Stroller Tour on Saturday. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum hosts its Buie Babies Museum Stroller Tour from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday (April 7).

Families with babies and toddlers up to age 2 are invited to participate in the tours, which begin at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. The tour will explore the museum’s latest exhibit by artist Maysey Craddock, “Ruin is a Secret Oasis.”

“We will be sharing the children’s games paintings of Theora Hamblett and exploring sensory play in our newest exhibition of work by Memphis-based artist Maysey Craddock,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “This is a fun opportunity for even our youngest learners to come and explore the museum.”

Other entertainment will be offered, including playtime activities with toys from the LOU Excel by 5 Coalition’s Lending Library.

The event is free and open to everyone. The museum will also provide snack time for the children and treats and coffee for parents.

For more information, visit             

UM Students Lead Ignite Campaign to Benefit Magee Center

Effort led by Mr. and Miss Ole Miss aims to get campus community involved.

Gathering at the construction site of the South Campus Recreation Facility where the William Magee Center for Wellness Education will be housed are (from left) Brett Barefoot, UM development officer for parents and family leadership; Billy Young, co-founder and CEO, Dr. Stephen Pannel, medical director from the AAC-owned Oxford Treatment Center; Jay and Cris Hughes, Kent and David Magee, and Diane and Dick Scruggs, all donors; and Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students are launching an effort to raise money for the William Magee Center for Wellness Education through an Ignite Ole Miss campaign.

Savannah Smith, this year’s Miss Ole Miss, and Tucker Fox, Mr. Ole Miss, have chosen to invest their time and efforts to promote student participation in bringing the Magee Center to campus.

The center will provide comprehensive drug and alcohol education for students.

“We weren’t exactly sure what we wanted to do in this position, but we knew we wanted to do something that would do the most amount of good for the greatest number of students in our student body,” Smith said.

After several conversations, Smith and Fox determined they wanted to be part of bringing this important type of education to Ole Miss students.

“Wellness seemed to be a common denominator that affected every student in one way or another,” she said. “We want to encourage an environment where wellness is celebrated and where we invest more deeply in one another.

“We want students to take ownership of this being their wellness center and that investing in it is investing in each other and in students for generations to come.”

The two decided to start an Ignite campaign, a crowdfunding effort aimed at student participation.

“Investing in this project will bring about incredible benefits for our student body and for generations to come,” Fox said.

The goal is for at least 1,000 students to donate in a show of respect for one other’s wellness.

“I appreciate that Savannah and Tucker have approached their responsibilities and obligations of Mr. and Miss Ole Miss very seriously and thoughtfully,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. “They wanted to make sure their efforts had broad impact – something that any student could benefit from.

William Magee

“When we met and brainstormed ideas, they were quickly drawn to the William Magee Center initiative. It was a current university need that could use their support, and the personal impact is nearly immediate and critical to student success.”

The initial gift for the center was provided by Kent and David Magee, parents of the late William Magee. William Magee was a 2012 Ole Miss graduate who was in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute for International Studies. He lettered in track and was named to the SEC academic honor roll.

After graduation, he sought help through rehabilitation programs but relapsed after attending a concert.

“When I heard our Ole Miss students talk about how they want to be leaders fostering education about alcohol and other drugs, it literally made the hair on my arm stand up, it’s so exciting,” David Magee said. “They understand the difference they can make.

“Savannah and Tucker wanted to do this campaign to engage as many students and alumni as possible to join in and show they care, even if it means giving $1. We have long cultivated leaders at Ole Miss and I’m proud to say that our student leadership today is stronger than ever before.”

Magee recognizes that alcohol and drug abuse are serious concerns on college campuses and hopes that this center will become nationally recognized for substance misuse prevention, support and academic research.

“The grass roots leadership shown by students who want to provide the best education and care for their peers both today and long into the future is what’s driving this new Ignite campaign,” Magee said. “This is their movement, and that’s the biggest difference. It’s quite inspiring.”

The Magee Center will be housed in the 100,000-square-foot South Campus Recreation Facility, under construction at the former Whirlpool plant. More than $900,000 has already been raised for the Magee Center from individual gifts and another Ignite campaign that launched last year.

“A movement among passionate, caring people is so powerful,” Magee said. “That’s what we witnessed during the last Ignite campaign, and it moved us. My wife and I have been a part of the Ole Miss family since our very beginning, and it always amazes me.”

To contribute to the campaign, visit

UM Museum Opens First Gallery in Renovated Mary Buie Wing

Project is one of the most significant expansions in the museum's 78-year history

Dozens of pottery items, including many artifacts that were not previously on display, are housed in the renovated Buie West Gallery of the University Museum. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum has reopened the first of four galleries in its Mary Buie wing, which is undergoing reinstallation to house the David M. Robinson Memorial Collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.

The original Mary Buie Museum, which became a connecting wing upon the opening of the current museum building in 1977, has been vacant for nearly eight years. The reopened Buie West Gallery serves as an introduction to the ancient Mediterranean world.

“The University Museum is exceptionally proud to launch this spring the first of a succession of openings of the galleries of our original 1939 Mary Buie building, now dedicated not only to a reinstallation of these internationally-renowned antiquities collections, but to their reinterpretation – telling their stories in freshly reimagined ways, under the exceptional leadership of collections manager Melanie Munns,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“This is a signature moment in the museum’s 78-year history, greatly augmenting access to these stunning artifacts and transforming the museum’s national profile in the process.”

The gallery contains artifacts not previously on display from Egypt and the Near East, and from ancient Europe. Another section features pottery arranged chronologically from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic period. A large timeline and multiple maps aid in providing historical and geographical context.

“They give viewers a visual timeline of pottery shape, painting and motifs,” antiquities collections manager Melanie Munns said. “My goal as curator and designer was to use a hierarchy of text and incorporated imagery to increase context and discovery.”

The gallery is open to the public and an opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday (March 27) as part of the Oxford Art Crawl.

The museum’s antiquities collection at the museum is widely regarded as the finest in the South and one of the best in the country. Most of the collection, containing more than 2,000 artifacts dating from 2500 B.C. to 500 A.D., was part of the personal collection of university professor David M. Robinson.

Because of space constraints, less than 10 percent of the collection is on display. Once the reinstallation is complete in all four galleries, much more of the collection will be accessible to the public, and the variety of objects will paint a better picture of the ancient lives of Mediterranean people.

This project has been ongoing for several years. This portion of the museum was closed in 2010 for renovation and structural repairs. In 2012, the museum received a donation from Marjorie Peddle

The University Museum has reopened the Buie West Gallery, which houses artifacts from the David M. Robinson Greek and Roman Antiquities Collection that dates back to 2500 B.C. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

and family to begin a reinstallation of the collection in those galleries.

Munns has been overseeing the project since 2013.

“Initially we planned an overall theme as a staff with the classics department,” she said.
“At the time, we felt we had the inability to fabricate casework or design elements on our own, so at the beginning of this project we focused heavily on fund- and friend-raising.”

In 2016, the Friends of the Museum allocated some of the funds raised at its annual Harvest Supper to the reinstallation project. With this gift, the museum was able to move from the planning phase to the fabrication phase, even though the overall funding goal had not been reached.

“We decided to open each gallery in phases as funding permitted,” Munns said.

The museum hired preparator Taylor Kite, who began to fabricate standard museum cases, in the fall of 2016.

“His hiring allowed me to make some changes to my approach in design and curation, no longer having the same limitations of prefabrication and standard sizing,” Munns said. “I also was able to find local and affordable options for additional display needs.”

The next step for the museum is to make progress on the second gallery in the Mary Buie building, which is expected to hold 17 custom-made cases of artifacts.

The museum continues to seek resources to complete the reinstallation project. To support the project, click here. Individuals and organizations also can send checks with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or by contacting Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or