“Her spirit and inspiration will live on in our minds and in our hearts as we continue the expansion of the Sixth Street Museum District.”We are deeply saddened by the loss of a long-term Commission Board Member and community trailblazer, Iola Craft Williams. She served as a member of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission from 2004 to 2013. Williams passed away on April 4 after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease. She will always be remembered for her immense commitment to serving others, as well as her high aspirations for Hattiesburg. Williams was the driving force behind the preservation of the East Sixth Street USO building in downtown Hattiesburg, now known as the African American Military History Museum. The building was set to be demolished in the early 1990s, but due to her tenacity, it was preserved and now is the only building of its type left in the United States. The success of its restoration and the installation of a national-quality museum was one of her proudest accomplishments. In addition to the creation of this historical attraction for Hattiesburg, Williams was the catalyst for the preservation of the historic Eureka School and the future museum destined for this building.
Lake Terrace began as a dream shared by a few Pine Belt community leaders. Their vision was a place that could handle the largest and most sophisticated events, while showcasing Hattiesburg’s hospitality and quality of life. Lake Terrace Convention Center combines the beauty of nature, unrivaled service and attention to detail, refined Southern hospitality, and leading-edge technology to offer clients a distinctive venue for a variety of special events.
The Hattiesburg Zoo has been an iconic tourist attraction since 1950, with the HCC taking its reins in 2009. Here you will find exhibits, animals, and inspiring opportunities that further the public’s appreciation, respect, and knowledge of nature through educational and recreational outlets.
In 2000, The Saenger underwent a complete renovation that restored the historic building to its former splendor. It has since become a celebrated fixture in the heart of historic downtown. Here you can enjoy a wide variety of shows while sipping expertly crafted cocktails under the Saenger’s iconic chandelier.
The Sixth Street Museum District emerged as the development of Hattiesburg’s East Sixth Street area by the Commission grew in scope. The addition of the Oseola McCarty House Museum, a Longleaf Trace rails-to-trails spur, expansion of the African American Military History Museum, and other historic preservation efforts are underway within the District.
In addition to its national-quality exhibits, the African American Military History Museum showcases the history and important role of the African American soldier through special events, field trips, and community outreach programs. Along with its national reputation amongst history buffs and museum professionals, the Museum is a favorite site for special military events, including investiture and retirement ceremonies.
The restoration of Historic Eureka School has involved a phased building renovation that was completed in the fall of 2018 for the purpose of reusing the building as an African American Heritage and Cultural Museum and interpretive center for the Civil Rights Movement, particularly the activities of Freedom Summer 1964.