UM Museum, Ford Center Host Weekend of Holiday Festivities

Music, activities and a winter wonderland on tap to help families get into the spirit

The Holiday Village, featuring an enchanting array of edible structures, is open Dec. 1-15 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Mississippi Museum have a weekend of fun-filled holiday activities scheduled for the whole family.

The Ford Center invites families to an evening celebrating the holiday season Friday, (Dec. 1) with “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and “Handel’s Messiah.”

Gian Carlo Menotti’s renowned one-act opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” shows how faith, charity, unselfish love and good deeds can produce miracles. The performance is a collaborative project involving alumni, students and community members.

Ole Miss alumnus Paul Gamble will sing “Balthazar” during the performance and university opera theatre and dance students will perform in several roles. Six community guests also will join opera students in the Shepherds’ Chorus, including Oxford dentist Walker Swaney, emeritus music faculty Cynthia Linton, College of Liberal Arts project coordinator Patti O’Sullivan, theatre arts staff member Ed Neilson, alumna Sissy Neilson and Oxford attorney Jim DeLoach.

The second half of the night features “Handel’s Messiah.” The hourlong production includes performances by the UM Choir, a select orchestra and alumni guest artists as soloists, including Allison Stanford, Viola Dacus and Kyle Davis.  The orchestra of professional musicians and students is conducted by Selim Gray, professor of music and orchestra, and UM Choirs, conducted by Don Trott, professor of music and director of choral activities, also will perform.

These performances are made possible through funding by Nancye Starnes and the Kite Foundation.

Tickets for the show are available at the UM Box Office, inside the Ford Center. They are $30 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $26 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels, and $18 for the balcony level. A 20 percent discount is available for Ole Miss faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office. Tickets also can be purchased online at

The UM Museum will host a Santa’s Workshop Family Activity Day on Saturday (Dec. 2). The drop-in workshop, set for 9 a.m.-noon, will allow participants of all ages to create seasonal art, eat holiday snacks and learn about winter wonders, including holidays from around the world.

The museum also will have a sensory play area for the youngest artists, and all ages are welcome to participate.

Children create their own holiday-inspired art at last year’s installment of the UM Museum’s Santa’s Workshop. Submitted photo

“Santa’s Workshop is one of our favorite events as we celebrate the magic of winter, snow and holidays,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “We also hope to expand our horizons this year and look at what is happening around the world during the winter holidays.”

Santa does not attend the event, but participants can take a Flying Tuk sleigh ride between the museum and the Ford Center’s Holiday Village, a collection of locally-themed gingerbread houses.

“We are so thrilled to have the Flying Tuks partnering for rides to the Holiday Village again, as that was a highlight from last year’s event,” she said.

The museum’s Family Activity Days are sponsored by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi and the Ignite Ole Miss campaign. For more information about Santa’s Workshop Family Activity Day, contact McCauley at To keep up with museum exhibits and upcoming events, visit

The Holiday Village will feature 19 gingerbread houses, made entirely from edible confections. The Ford Center also is adding a miniature Christmas Village to celebrate holiday traditions from around the world.

The village is also open for group reservations, which can be scheduled by contacting marketing director Kate Meacham at 662-915-6502 or

Here is the full schedule of Holiday Village Hours:

Friday (Dec. 1) – 1-7:30 p.m.

Saturday (Dec. 2) and Sunday (Dec. 3) – 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Monday (Dec. 4) – 1-7:30 p.m. Guests can visit the village after the Oxford Christmas parade for hot chocolate.

Tuesday (Dec. 5) through Friday (Dec. 8) – 1-5 p.m.

Saturday (Dec. 9) – 1-5 p.m. The Oxford Civic Chorus will perform at 1 p.m., and Santa will be in the village from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday (Dec. 10) – Noon-3 p.m.

Monday (Dec. 11) through Friday (Dec. 15) – 1-5 p.m.

For more information, visit

UM Museum Unveils 2017 Keepsake Ornament

This year's design features popular 19th century scientific instrument

The UM Museum’s 2017 keepsake ornament featuring Barlow’s Planetarium is available for purchase. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum has unveiled its 17th annual keepsake ornament, a design featuring the Barlow’s Planetarium, part of the collection of antique scientific instruments on display at the museum.

The planetarium, also known as an orrery, has a storied history with Ole Miss. Designer Thomas H. Barlow of Lexington, Kentucky, who created and sold several of these instruments to universities and museums throughout the United States, made the university’s orrery in 1854.

The ornaments alternate annually between highlights of the museum’s 20,000-object permanent collection, campus landmarks and sites around Oxford, said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“This mid-19th century astronomical model occupies a place of great prominence in the museum’s exhibition galleries and is a much-beloved historical artifact of countless museum visitors,” Saarnio said. “All ornament sales proceeds directly support programs of the University Museum, and we are very grateful to those campus and community members for whom these collectibles are eagerly-awaited annual Museum Store offerings.”

In the late 1850s, Chancellor F.A.P. Barnard, who also served as chair and professor of mathematics, astronomy and natural philosophy, purchased the orrery for the university. The orrery and other scientific instruments were used in classrooms and laboratories until they became obsolete in the 1870s.

The planetarium aligns the planets based on a specific date. At the museum, the date is set to Nov. 7 1848, the day the university first opened its doors to students.

The Barlow’s Planetarium commemorative ornament is available for $25, plus tax. It can be purchased in the Museum Store or by phone with a credit card at 662-915-7073. A flat $7 shipping and handling fee will be added to all orders to be shipped within the 48 contiguous states, and all sales are final.

Orders must be placed by Dec. 13 to arrive in time for Christmas Day.

Collectible ornaments from previous years still available in the Museum Store include the Old Skipwith House, Brandt Memory House, Ventress Hall, Lafayette County Courthouse, Oxford City Hall, the Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Jersey, Theora Hamblett House, Theora Hamblett’s “Christmas Trees,” Walk of Champions, Oxford’s Double Decker Bus and the Herakles Neck Amphora. All previous year’s ornaments are $20, plus tax.

Museum members and Friends of the Museum receive a 10 percent discount on all merchandise in the Museum Store. 

The University Museum is at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Holiday Hours for the Museum Store are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and 10a.m.-6p.m. Saturdays.
Museum gallery visiting hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.

For information about events and exhibits, visit

Artist Randy Hayes to Discuss ‘Unwritten Memoir’ at UM Museum

Holly Springs native plans to explain how travels inspired his work

Randy Hayes, the artist behind the exhibit ‘Unwritten Memoir’ will discuss the inspiration behind his work Thursday (Nov. 16) at the University Museum. Submitted photo.

OXFORD, Miss. – Holly Springs native and artist Randy Hayes will discuss his “Unwritten Memoir” exhibit, on display at the University of Mississippi Museum, on Thursday evening (Nov. 16).

The lecture, set for 7 p.m., is free and open to the public. Hayes plans to talk about the inspiration behind his work and answer questions from audience members.

“Unwritten Memoir” opened in September. The exhibit, which includes photographs, objects and paintings, reflects visual memories of Hayes’ time spent traveling through Turkey, Japan and the American South from 2004 to present.

“The University Museum has been privileged to be exhibiting this fall the work of distinguished Mississippi visual artist Randy Hayes, in his exceptional exhibition ‘Unwritten Memoir,'” said Robert Saarnio, museum director. “We eagerly anticipate his guest artist appearance in which he will present an illustrated prologue in PowerPoint format, followed by a walkthrough of the galleries of his exhibition, in which dialog with the audience will be highly welcomed.”

Hayes has spent the majority of his artistic career in Seattle. His work has been featured in public and private collections around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and the U.S. Department of State.

The exhibit will be available for viewing through Dec. 9.

Museum Aims to Get Visitors Moving on Bailey’s Woods Trail

Family Activity Day to feature fresh air and fun on the way to Rowan Oak

Bailey’s Woods Trail runs from the UM Museum to Rowan Oak. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum will host a “Let’s Move on the Trail” Family Activity Day on Saturday (Nov. 4).

Oxford residents, Ole Miss students, families and visitors are invited to drop by the museum between 10 a.m. and noon to begin a day of fresh air, exercise and art activities along Bailey’s Woods Trail, which runs from the museum to Rowan Oak.

“‘Let’s Move on the Trail’ is one of the family days we look forward to each year,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “Bailey’s Woods Trail is a wonderful resource, and we are excited to transform it to a fun, learning experience for families with children of all ages once again.”

The theme is inspired by the Let’s Move campaign launched in 2010 by first lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity. The museum has been participating in the initiative since 2011, using interactive exhibits and outdoor spaces to engage children.

The event is weather-permitting. The activity day, made possible by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, is free and open to the public, thanks to a successful Ignite Ole Miss fundraising campaign.

All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Transportation back to the museum from Rowan Oak will be provided.

For more information about Let’s Move Family Activity Day, contact McCauley at or 662-915-7073.

UM Museum Hosts Textile Exhibit by Mary Zicafoose

Collection of contemporary tapestries aspires to lift the 'vibrational frequency for mankind'

‘Mountain for Buddha’ is among the tapestry images on display at the UM Museum as part of Mary Zicafoose’s ‘Fault Lines’ exhibit. Submitte

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum’s newest exhibit “Fault Lines,” a unique tapestry exhibit by artist Mary Zicafoose, ties an ancient art form with modern concerns in a vibrant, captivating array.

Curated from three of Zicafoose’s collections – “Fault Lines,” “Mountain for the Buddha” and the “Blueprint Series” – the exhibit is on display in the museum’s Lower Skipwith Gallery through Feb. 3, 2018.

Each piece, based on classic archetypal symbols, depicts climate change through the artist’s representation of tectonic plates, fault lines and land shifts. Zicafoose’s tapestries and rugs have been exhibited around the world, including in American embassies on three continents.

“You make art and you want to draw people in,” Zicafoose said. “You want to get people involved in the work. You want to tell your story, but also one of the primary driving forces is I hope that the work can trigger a shift in consciousness of people.

“That’s part of the mission. It may be pretentious or lofty or maybe just stupidly nuts, but that’s my driving force and I have had those experiences in the arts, where I’ve seen something that made me different. Something happens in that moment and that’s the role of the arts – to lift the vibrational frequency for mankind as we toil on this planet.”

Having a show in Mississippi is special, she said.

“This is a place where people come for that,” she explained. “To be a participant in that process is a very distinct honor and responsibility to bring work here that will do that.”

Her love for textiles began as a child, when she was fascinated by a piece of Pacific Island cloth an aunt gave her.

“After many formative years of art schooling and teaching, I somewhat surprisingly found myself behind a loom,” she said on her website. “I have spent the last 22 years in pursuit of visual surprise on the flat woven ‘rug’ surface through dye processes, tapestry techniques and intriguing color play.

“Weaving has become my ticket into the arts – it is a personal vernacular that speaks about the unabashed use of color and the power of illusion.”

A largely self-taught weaver, Zicafoose earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame. She studied in graduate programs at the Art Institute of Chicago and University of Nebraska.

“The University Museum is thrilled to present the work of this major American tapestry artist and weaver, whose work is exhibited internationally in 24 U.S. embassies and museum and corporate collections nationwide,” museum Director Robert Saarnio said.

“Mary’s pieces are exceptionally vibrant, and elegant in their colorways, symbolism and the complexity of the ikat process, and we were compelled by her description of her work: ‘I create contemporary tapestry, pushing the boundary of this ancient art form, to investigate the intricacies of how we, as individuals, are tied to one another.'”

The University Museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Admission is free.

To learn more about Zicafoose and her work, visit For more information about the museum and its exhibits, visit

Harvest Supper Raises More than $120,000 to Support Museum

Proceeds will help fund exhibits and programming

More than 500 guests enjoy dinner and atmosphere at the University Museum’s annual Harvest Supper on the grounds of Rowan Oak. Photo by Christina Steube/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum’s sixth annual Harvest Supper raised more than $120,000 earlier this month for museum exhibits and programming.

The catered event, on the grounds of William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, attracted some 550 guests, all of whom bought tickets in support of the museum.

“This event provides money to the museum for exhibitions, lectures and more education for children,” said Gayle Henry, a Friends of the Museum board member. “It allows the university to reach more people and have the best exhibits.”

Besides ticket sales, money was also raised through a silent auction and a live auction featuring pieces by Mississippi artists. The live auction included a sculpture by Tom Corbin, who has previously exhibited at the museum.

“Harvest Supper is an exceptional fundraising event that brings together museum and Rowan Oak stakeholders and supporters from across the region and the country,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director. “The entire spirit of the evening is one of such positive goodwill for us that it sustains our energy and passion for our work, at the same time that it raises critically needed support.

“We are deeply grateful to the Friends of the Museum and the attendees for their hard work and generous participation on our behalf.”

The Harvest Supper began in 2011 with the idea that the museum needed a way to increase funding to grow. The small gathering of around 100 people has grown into a major event.

“Nearly impossible to imagine that in six short years, a dinner for a few people interested in helping fun museum projects has grown into the gala I experienced for the first time last night,” said Debbie Nelson, the museum’s membership, events and communications coordinator. “I am impressed by the volunteers and staffing behind the scenes as well as night of event.

“The combination of generous benefactors, ambiance of Rowan Oak, musical entertainers and cuisine that rivals any outdoor banquet makes Harvest Supper a ‘must-experience” evening in Oxford each year.”

This year’s event had more than 100 sponsors, including presenting sponsors Diane and Dickie Scruggs and the Madison Charitable Foundation; platinum level sponsors Darrell Crawford, Kent and David Magee, Elizabeth and Will Galtney and The Self Foundation; and gold level sponsors Marty and John Dunbar, Marla and Lowry Lomax, Friends of Dorothy and Tom Howorth, Elizabeth and Jeff Lusk, Hardy Reed, Saint Leo, Howorth & Associates Architects, Rose and Hubert Spears, Mary M. Thompson, Carol and Bill Windham and Ken Wooten and Margaret Wylde.

A full list of sponsors can be found here.

For more information about the museum, its exhibits and events, visit

Science Day Returns to UM Field Station

Researchers to host LOU community on Saturday, Oct. 7

The University’s Biological Field Station Photo by Robert Jordan

OXFORD, Miss. – Researchers from a variety of disciplines will share insights about their work and the environment of northeast Mississippi this weekend during Science Day at the University of Mississippi Field Station.

The event, set for from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 7), is designed for visitors ages 5 and up.  A $5 contribution per person will help to cover the cost of supplies for the day’s activities, including a beverage and snack for Science Day visitors.

“Science Day at the University of Mississippi Field Station has always been a fun and educational experience for all those who are curious about the natural world,” said Marjorie Holland, UM professor of biology and one of the coordinators of this year’s event.

Holland started Science Day in the 1990s and is leading this year’s revival of the educational afternoon after a hiatus of more than a decade.

“This year, presenters and demonstrations provide insights into current research underway throughout Oxford and give visitors a chance to chat one-on-one with investigators,” Holland said. “We look forward to welcoming numerous visitors to the station.”

The afternoon will include activities such as nature walks, demonstrations, exhibits and tours, offering a variety of options for participants.

Ole Miss faculty, staff and graduate students from the College of Liberal Arts, University Museum and School of Engineering, and well as from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Sedimentation Laboratory, are scheduled to speak about their respective fields.

“Science Day provides a wonderful opportunity for the college to share ‘nature’s lab’ with the community,” said Jan Murray, associate dean of College of Liberal Arts, which hosts the event.

“Our (presenters) and others have eagerly volunteered to share what they do with the families and community groups who visit on Science Day,” she said. “We hope you will join us for a day of exploration, observation and fun.”

The UM Field Station is a research facility that support studies in aquatic and terrestrial ecology. To reach the Field Station, go east on Highway 30 to Littlejohn’s store, turn north onto County Road 215 for 2 miles, then east for 6 miles on County Road 202 to 15 Road 2078.

For more information and pre-registration, contact Lele Gillespie at or call 662-915-1514. To learn about the Field Station, visit

University Museum Receives $5,000 LOFT Grant for Education

Funds will help create mobile gallery and new educational spaces

Education intern Holly Badger adds water to candies that campers enrolled in the the UM Museum’s Science, Nature and Art camp have arranged. The museum received a $5,000 grant from LOFT in August for educational programming such as this. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow has awarded $5,000 to the University of Mississippi Museum’s education department. The grant was awarded as part of LOFT’s annual night of giving more than $27,000 to local community nonprofit organizations.

The museum was selected from six competitive education category applicants. The grant will be used to create the LOFT Mobile Gallery and Learning Stations at the museum, which involves the purchase of exhibition dividers to create educational exhibits and temporary learning spaces.

“The LOFT Mobile Gallery and Learning Stations will allow children in museum programs to engage with the museum on three levels: observation, creation and exhibition,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s education curator.

“We look forward to one-night showcases of student work in Art Zone and current partnerships like Scott Center and Horizons, and being able to expand to more partners and schools in future years.”

The foundation is pleased to help fund activities at the University Museum, said Jody Holland, LOFT executive director.

“The work and efforts of the entity have always benefited the quality of life in Oxford and Lafayette County, and LOFT is proud to be a strong supporter of the great work and programs executed at the UM Museum,” Holland said.

The project will enhance the museum’s ability to showcase student achievement and provide enrichment opportunities for K-12 audiences, McCauley said.

The museum has received two previous LOFT grants, which have assisted in growing educational programming at the museum by 400 percent over the last five years.

For more information on LOFT, go to For more information on programs and exhibits at the University Museum, go to

Museum’s Latest Exhibit Explores Culture with ‘Unwritten Memoir’

Holly Spring native Randy Hayes uses his work to reflect memories of travels

‘Athenia’ by Randy Hayes is one of the work on display in the ‘Unwritten Memoir’ exhibit. His work will be on display through Dec. 9. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum debuts “Unwritten Memoir,” an exhibit by Holly Springs artist Randy Hayes, on Tuesday (Aug. 22).

“Unwritten Memoir” reflects visual memories of Hayes’ time spent in Turkey, Japan and the American South from 2004 to the present. These memories present three different cultures through photographs, objects and paintings.

“To paraphrase the novelist Bharati Mukherjee, I am trying to make the familiar exotic and the exotic familiar,” Hayes said.

The exhibit opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday and will be a featured stop on the Oxford Arts Crawl later that evening.

“The University of Mississippi Museum is honored and excited to share with its audiences and its campus community the work of exceptionally gifted artist Randy Hayes,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director. “We’ve been privileged to have exhibited Mr. Hayes’ work previously in 2009, with this show offering a more comprehensive representation of the range of this artist’s remarkable skills, and his dynamic approach to layering of imagery in its overlays of the photographed with the painted.

“Associated with objects from the artist’s personal travels, the wall-hung works resonate powerfully and their gridded formatting rewards repeated viewing. We eagerly look forward to our visitors’ experiences of these compelling and fascinating pieces.”

Though a native Mississippian, Hayes spent the majority of his career in Seattle. His work is featured in many public and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Mississippi Museum of Art and the U.S. Department of State. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York also previously exhibited his work.

An opening reception with Hayes is scheduled in conjunction with the museum’s annual membership party for 6-8 p.m. Sept. 14.

The exhibit will be available for viewing through Dec. 9.

For more information about the museum and its exhibits, visit

Heidelbergs Donate $30,000 to University Museum

Gift will support exhibits and programs with a focus on young and emerging artists

Jane Becker Heidelberg and her husband, Rody Heidelberg, met at UM. Their son, Web Heidelberg, and his wife, Michelle, have established a gift to the museum in Jane Becker Heidelberg’s name. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Jane Becker Heidelberg adored her time at the University of Mississippi. She met her husband, Rody Heidelberg, in 1940 at their first dance as students in the old gym. They were together almost 50 years.

She loved collecting art and supporting Mississippi artists, so when she died in 2011, the family began thinking of ways to preserve her memory at the university she loved so much.

Her son, Web Heidelberg, and his wife, Michelle, of Hattiesburg, have established the Jane Becker Heidelberg Endowment for the Arts for the University Museum with a $30,000 gift. The gift will be used for exhibitions and programming, with an emphasis on the work of young or emerging artists.

“The Jane Becker Heidelberg Endowment for the Arts represents arts philanthropy at its very best, and the University Museum is deeply grateful to the Heidelberg family for the creation of this fund in support of emerging artists,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director. “Their generosity will transform the museum’s capacity to engage with younger and newly emerging artists in meaningful and creative partnerships, whether by exhibition, acquisition or public programs.

“Working with emerging artists is now assured for the museum’s future, and the ultimate beneficiaries are the public and university audiences who will experience some of the Mid-South’s most creative new artistic talents.”

This is not the first time the Heidelbergs have contributed to the university that brought Jane and Rody together. When Rody died in 1989, Jane established the Rowland W. Heidelberg Jr. Scholarship at the School of Law. The scholarship is awarded to a promising incoming law student for three years.

“Hopefully, the endowment will help provide the kind of support and encouragement that mother provided personally during her lifetime,” Web Heidelberg said. “And, of course, to do so at a place that meant so much to her is especially meaningful and appropriate.”

Web Heidelberg earned his bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss in 1967 before attending law school at Tulane University.

To contribute to the University Museum, contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or