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Southern Miss History Class Students to Tour the African American Military History Museum and Make Exhibition Proposals for Forthcoming Moeller Museum

Fri, 09/15/2023 - 09:57am | By: Lisa Conn

On Tuesday, Sept. 19th at 11 a.m. Dr. John C. Winters’ Public History class from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will visit and tour the African American Military History Museum at the Sixth Street Museum District.  

Dr. Winters’ students, who are 300-level students enrolled in Public History in Theory and Practice will analyze the permanent exhibition at the African American Military History Museum and create a mock exhibition proposal for the forthcoming Moeller Museum, which is a project of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. 

“As our students work on these projects, they will gain job-ready skills in public writing and exhibition development all while forming a deeper personal connection to, and appreciation for, this important Hattiesburg institution,” said Dr. Winters. 

“This partnership with The University of Southern Mississippi History program provides an opportunity for the Museum District to engage the next generation of historians, researchers and museum professionals, and it gives these students the chance to connect with the community and gain practical skills and knowledge of the important role museums play in public history and cultural education,” shared Museum Operations & Education Supervisor, Vanessa Molden.

The Moeller Museum is currently in the design stage, with an expected opening of 2025.  The museum will house eleven military vehicles that were used during wars and military action from World War II through Desert Storm.  Dr. Donald R. Moeller, Lt. Colonel, US Army, Retired, chose the African American Military History Museum as the home for his collection after extensive research.  He was impressed with how the museum tells the stories of African American service men and women through interactive exhibits that the museum is intentional about appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, feel and smell. 

“We are honored Dr. Moeller chose us to house and appropriately display his collection,” said Director of Museums, Latoya Norman. “We will take the recommendations of Dr. Winters’ students and combine them with our master schematics as we determine our final plans for the creation of the Moeller Museum.” 

“When completed, the Moeller Museum will give guests a new look at the role and evolution of vehicles used to help our service men and women in the heat of battle,” continued Norman.  “The Moeller Museum will be an important part of military history and will complement the other museums in the Sixth Street Museum District as well as the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum.”

Dr. Donald R. Moeller had an extensive career in the US Army where he served in the Dental Corps.  After retiring as Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Martin Army Hospital Fort Benning, Georgia.  He entered the University of Alabama Medical School and obtained a Doctor of Medicine degree, which was followed by a Transitional Medical Residency at the Columbus Medical Center.  After retiring from his practice in oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Columbus Georgia he continued his career as a Neuroscience Researcher in the area of PTSD comorbid sleep disruption.  Dr. Moeller is Board Certified in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 

Dr. John C. Winters is Assistant Professor of History and directs the Graduate Certificate Program in Public History at the University of Southern Mississippi. He writes about Indigenous and museum history and has a decade of public history experience in New York, Virginia, and Mississippi. He is the author of "The Amazing Iroquois" and the Empire State.