Retired Professor Creates Endowment for Museum Education and Outreach


Mrs. Lynton Dilley and Chancellor Dan Jones

Retired University of Mississippi Education professor Lynton Dilley fondly remembers toting around heavy, military-style footlockers in 1981 when she helped establish one of the campus museum’s first educational outreach programs—what were then called the “Dilley Boxes.”

Dilley, with help from fellow Education professors Cindy Leigh and Peggy Emerson, acquired trunks stocked with hands-on learning materials to create activities for third-graders who toured exhibits at the Museum.

“It started as a modest project we did in our free time,” Dilley said. “I was in charge of placing our elementary education students as teacher aides in the local school systems. This was a way for the University to collaborate with those schools.”

But what started as a small program grew quickly. Today, the Traveling Trunk Program at the Museum sends seven similar boxes with learning materials
and lesson plans to classrooms in surrounding counties. A $25,000 gift from Dilley will help ensure it continues to reach future generations.

During a small ceremony in July at the Museum, Dilley was honored by friends, family, and University leaders for her gift, which created the Dilley Museum Education Endowment to fund educational outreach programs.

“This has been an exceptional year for donations at Ole Miss,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “To me, some of the most special gifts are those that come from our former faculty members who decide they want to give back to continue to support Ole Miss.”
Among the programs the Dilley Endowment will help fund are free outreach programs, such as the Traveling Trunk Program. More than 8,200 children participated in the museum’s educational outreach programs since 2011.


(Left to Right) James Dilley, Larry Dilley, Mrs. Lynton Dilley, and John Dilley

“Mrs. Dilley’s generosity will touch many lives and significantly impact our programming,” said Emily Dean, Curator of Education. “We want to expand our current programs to bring the Museum collections to life for more students of all ages. We will also be able to develop new programs that reach varied audiences. We want to be ambassadors of Mrs. Dilley’s belief in the power of education.”