Founded in 1902, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) is the state's official organization to collect, preserve and provide access to archival material related to Missouri history. Its headquarters is located in this building, the William F. Winters Archives and History Building, which is located next to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, both of which the MDAH administers. The MDAH is also responsible for managing other museums historic sites in the state, overseeing programs for historic preservation, government records management, and publications.
The Winters building houses 60,000 cubic feet of historic materials. Items include government records, manuscripts, photographs, maps, drawings, oral histories, video, and audio. The government records date to the Colonial period when the French, Spanish, and English controlled the region; these records also include documents when the state was an American territory. The earliest map dates to 1588 and there are around 100,000 photographs. The manuscript collection is strong in several areas including the antebellum period, the Civil War, Reconstruction, economic development, and women's history.