The DeSoto County Museum is operated by the Historic DeSoto Foundation. The museum educates the public about the history of the Desoto County area by preserving and interpreting historically significant photos, documents, and artifacts that represent the history of DeSoto county from the time of Hernando Desoto's exploration in 1541 to modern times.
The DeSoto County Museum houses exhibits on the history of DeSoto County. From Hernando DeSoto to Jerry Lee Lewis, from the Civil War to Civil Rights, the exhibits tell the fascinating story of DeSoto County from 1541 through today. In addition, on the museum grounds is one of the County’s oldest surviving homes, a restored log cabin from 1850.
In 1984, DeSoto County citizens formed the Historic DeSoto Foundation to preserve DeSoto County history by recording our past, collecting artifacts and photographs, and dreamed of one day opening a museum. In 1998, two events pushed the development of a DeSoto County museum into high gear. First, a historic home was torn down in order to build the county’s new administration building. The loss of this home, along with many other historic structures over the years, highlighted the need for a place to preserve county history. The project also took a new turn when Hernando’s First Presbyterian Church property came up for sale. At the encouragement of the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors, the decision was made to purchase this property to preserve the 1870’s church and convert the education building into a museum.
The Historic DeSoto Foundation raised over $400,000 dollars to buy the property and was awarded a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for the renovation of the museum building. The Museum began a twelve-month project to renovate the building and to create the exhibits. The museum opened to the public on March 1, 2003.