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African American Treasures

The Kinsey Collection

An exhibit of authentic and rare art, artifacts, books and documents that tell the untold story of African American achievements.
Made possible by the Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Foundation for Art and Education.

March 21 - June 20, 2015
John Grisham Room, Mitchell Memorial Library

About The Exhibit

This extraordinary exhibit, representing a portion of The Kinsey Collection, contains authentic and rare art, original and facsimile artifacts, books, documents and manuscripts that tell the often untold story of African American achievement and contribution.

With education as a goal, The Kinsey Collection has been on national tour since 2007, and has been seen by over 3 million visitors. The collection has exhibited at the California African American Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, The DuSable Museum of African American History, The Norton Museum of Art, The Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and is still on display at Disney's Epcot. The collection has been cited in 3 national awards including the President's National Award for Museum and Library Services.

The Kinsey Collection coffee table book is a 198-page must read that serves as a companion to the exhibit and has been adopted by the Florida Department of Education to teach African American history to students in grades K-12 statewide. The curriculum is available through iTunes U.

About the Kinseys

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey

Bernard & Shirley Kinsey strive to live their lives on two simple principles: "To whom much is given much is required" and "A life of no regrets." Their 48-year marriage and partnership represents an alliance based on love, respect, and the importance of friends and family.
Read More


Not all of the artifacts mentioned in these videos will be on display as a part of the Kinsey Exhibit at MSU.



John Grisham Room

The Exhibit will be on display in the John Grisham Room, a beautifully appointed exhibition and meeting space on the third floor of Mitchell Memorial Library.

Exhibit Hours

See the Exhibit from March 21 to June 20, 2015, during regular hours:

Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 1pm - 5pm

The Exhibit is available for viewing unless Mitchell Memorial Library is closed. See a schedule of holiday closings and special exam and intersession hours.

Guided Tours

We are happy to offer guided tours, perfect for class groups, clubs and other organizations.

Groups with more than 10 members must make a reservation for a guided tour.

To schedule a tour, contact Lynda Graham at (662) 325-6634, or fill out the guided tour request form.

There's more to do in Starkville and the Golden Triangle area - make it a trip to remember!

Download a sample itinerary (.pdf) to build your trip, or check out http://visit.starkville.org/ for upcoming events.


Unless otherwise noted, events are held in Mitchell Memorial Library's John Grisham Room.

  • Exhibit Opening Reception with Bernard, Shirley, and Khalil Kinsey

    Join us for a reception marking the opening of the exhibit "African American Treasures from the Kinsey Collection" with special guests Bernard and Shirley Kinsey and their son Khalil Kinsey. Not only will you have a unique opportunity to see this exceptional exhibit but you will also have the opportunity to talk with Bernard, Shirley and Khalil Kinsey. The reception will include a book signing.

  • An Afternoon with Bernard & Shirley Kinsey: "Exposing the Untold Stories of African American Achievement and Contribution"

    Bettersworth Auditorium, Lee Hall, Mississippi State University

    Bernard Kinsey will take the audience on a virtual tour of The Kinsey Collection, helping to fill in the gaps of standard education by exposing so many untold stories of African American achievement and contribution, as well as exploring the "myth of absence" concept that has played a significant role in America's view of African Americans. The presentation prompts you to question what you were taught and challenges your thought process regarding race in America. This event is sure to not only entertain, but enlighten, educate and inspire.

  • Lecture by Dr. Stephen Middleton (Professor, Department of History and Director of African American Studies)

    Dr. Stephen Middleton will put some of the artifacts in the Kinsey Collection into their historical context. He will illustrate how some of the pieces in the collection came during a historical moment in American history. Middleton will also highlight historical artifacts and photographs that are not in the Kinsey Collection. Many of the pieces he presents are rooted in the history of Mississippi.

  • Lecture by Dr. Shirley Hanshaw (Associate Professor, Department of English and African American Studies)

    "'Myth of Absence': An Exhibition of African American Culture through Historical Documents, Photographs, and Art in the Kinsey Collection"

  • A Conversation with the Kinseys

    John Grisham Room, Mitchell Memorial Library, Mississippi State University

  • Exhibit Closing

More Collections

To see more of MSU Libraries' own African American Treasures, including correspondence, political and activist records, photographs, publications, business records, and more from Starkville-area African Americans, visit Special Collections.

To learn about MSU Libraries' other museums and online, physical, and traveling exhibits, visit Museums and Exhibits.


Mississippi State University Libraries

Mississippi State University African American Studies

Visit Mississippi

Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Mississippi Humanities Council

This project is made possible by the Mississippi State University Libraries, the MSU African American Studies Program, Starkville Visitors & Convention Council, and grants from Visit Mississippi and the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendation expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.