Pamela D. C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson, has announced her retirement, effective June 30. In 2017, Junior was named the inaugural director of the first state-sponsored civil rights museum in the nation, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. She came to the role after serving as director of the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center for seventeen years. In 2019, she was promoted to director of the Two Mississippi Museums, where she continued the work of sharing the stories of Mississippi told in the Museum of the Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museums.
MDAH director Katie Blount said, “Pam Junior came to MDAH with deep roots and credibility in the community, many years of experience in the museum field, and a commitment to excellence that she modeled for younger staff. She personally led many thousands of visitors through the museums, enriching their experience through her passion for history and her boundless charisma. In our first years, Pam Junior lifted-up the Two Mississippi Museums and shared them with the world. We are grateful.
Highlights during Junior’s service include participating in the retirement of the 1894 Mississippi state flag at the official retirement ceremony in 2020 and guiding the late Congressman John Lewis through the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—events she counts as major personal milestones. In 2018, she spearheaded MLK Jr. Day programming with fellow museum staff and added the MLK Night of Culture in 2019, just two of the highly attended annual events at the museums.
“Pamela is a woman who knows that she did not travel her road alone, but on the shoulders of those who came before her,” said civil rights leader Myrlie Evers. “Pamela is imbued with the fortitude, wisdom, and faith of her grandmother, mother, mentors, and civil rights veterans. Her leadership reflects her commitment to Mississippi and the honest telling of our history.”
After graduating from Jackson State University, where Junior received a BS in education, with a minor in special education, she joined the National Park Service in 1990 as a ranger in Washington, DC. Nearly a decade later, she returned to Jackson to work for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
In 1999, Junior was hired as the manager of the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, where she became co-coordinator of the National Arts Program and acquired on permanent loan the Smithsonian traveling exhibition Field to Factory: The Afro-American Migration, 1915–1940.
Junior has been honored over the years for both her professional and community work and received numerous awards, such as the Freedom Rider Award from the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation, the For My People Award from the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, the Hometown Hero Award from the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Museum Leadership Award by the Association of African American Museums. She was inducted into the Mississippi Tourism Hall of Fame.
Junior will continue to serve the community as a board member for Visit Jackson and an advisory board member for the Mississippi Book Festival. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum.