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The Burns-Belfry Story

Burns Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by freed African Americans who settled in the area known as “Freedmen Town” after the Civil War. The current church building was erected in 1910 and played a major role in the lives of many African Americans until 1974, when the Burns congregation moved to its new location.

Luncheon Attendees
By Darlene Copp
May 2014
Current News


By Darlene Copp
November 2014
Visitor Information

Holiday Museum Closings

The Burns-Belfry Museum will be closed over upcoming holiday periods as follows:

    • Closed Thanksgiving Week
    • Closed Christmas Week
    • Closed New Year’s Week

This will allow our volunteers to have time off for their holiday celebrations or travels. Regular museum hours will resume on Sunday, January 4, 2015. If you will be visiting Oxford over the holidays and would like to visit the Burns-Belfry, please call Jim Pryor 662/801-4087 to schedule an appointment for a private visit.


By Darlene Copp
October 2013

Burns-Belfry’s Two-Stage Exhibit

Burkhead & Friends Perform at Burns-Belfry

Ricky Burkhead and Damein Wash

Oxford’s first Fringe Festival brought percussionist Ricky Burkhead to the Burns-Belfry Museum on Friday afternoon, August 1, 2014. Accomplished singers Effie Burt and Damein Wash on keyboard joined Mr. Burkhead to present a historical review of African American music. The setting motivated the trio to perform selections representing centuries of black life and creativity.

Concert highlights included Ricky Burkhead’s melodic steel drum solo of “Jamaica Farewell.” Later the audience participated in a demonstration of “call and response” as practiced by enslaved generations of black Americans. Samplings of gospel, blues, and jazz sung by Ms. Burt and Mr. Wash thrilled the “Fringe” audience of 20 festival goers. Ms. Burt’s rendition of a Billie Holiday classic was a standout.

Look for announcements of a repeat of this remarkable concert at the Burns-Belfry in 2015.

See Photos »

View the Burns-Belfry Museum Dedication Video

Video Still

OMS Students Learn African American History

OMS visit march 2014
Students checking out exhibit at Burns-Belfry Museum

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, eight Oxford Middle School classes and their teachers walked to and from the Burns-Belfry Museum to learn some African American history. Volunteers Boyd Harris, Wanda Nelms, and Elsie Pugh greeted them and gave them an orientation to the museum. To plan a school outing, contact Darlene Copp at 513-9957 or via email

See more photos of their visit »


Looking for a special place for your wedding reception, anniversary celebration, birthday party, or other special event? Or do you need space close to the Square to hold luncheons, offer seminars, or conduct business meetings?

The Burns-Belfry provides a unique, conducive space for meetings or events that is an easy walk to the Square and convenient to the University of Mississippi. A catering kitchen is included, and a parking lot is on the property. Nonprofits are given special rates. For details, call Gina Matthews, events coordinator, at 662/801-1427 or


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