The Best Museums in Mississippi

Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Miss.
Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Miss. | © Visit Mississippi / Flickr
Holly Perkins

Mississippi might not be known for its museums, but maybe it should be. The Magnolia State offers a chance to learn about everything from art and history, to Muslim culture and the seafood industry in beautifully curated and modern spaces.

Museum of Natural Science

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is the perfect place to spend an afternoon learning about the Magnolia State’s natural history. Found within the scenic LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, the museum houses live animals in its swamp greenhouse and over 200 species of animals within its 100,000-gallon aquarium exhibits. The museum also has exhibits that feature fossils, Mississippi’s diverse landscape and endangered species. Annual events such as the popular “Snake Day” and “NatureFEST” are family-friendly events that are as fun as they are educational.

Alligator Exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum officially opened in 2017 with a mission to share knowledge about Mississippi’s involvement in the American Civil Rights Movement between 1945 and 1976. The important history is presented in eight galleries, each highlighting a moment of significance to the movement. These eight galleries surround a space called “This Little Light of Mine,” featuring a glowing sculpture and music, both of which grow stronger as visitors encircle it. The not-to-be-missed museum is a hugely educational and heartbreaking tribute to Mississippi’s harrowing past.

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson

Mississippi Children’s Museum

A must-go destination for families visiting the Magnolia State is The Mississippi Children’s Museum. With an emphasis on STEM, Health and Nutrition, Cultural Arts, Literacy and Mississippi Heritage, the state-of-the-art museum combines learning, discovery and play. Make sure to check out favorites like the Literacy Garden, “World at Work” gallery which teaches kids STEM concepts while exploring various industries and careers and the “Express Yourself” gallery, which focuses on creative forms of expression like dance and art.

Delta Blues Museum

Located in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the Delta Blues Museum is following a mission of inspiring and educating the community and preserving the history of the Mississippi Delta’s vast contributions to the music world. Located in the same city where the legendary Robert Johnson infamously sold his soul to the devil, this is Mississippi’s oldest music museum and is definitely worth a trip.

Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale

Grammy Museum Mississippi

Also highlighting the accomplishments of Mississippians in music is the Grammy Museum located in Cleveland, Mississippi. The first Grammy Museum built outside of Los Angeles, they offer over 20 interactive exhibits, films, lectures and performances focusing on all genres of music as well as the behind-the-scenes aspect of how music is written, recorded and published. The 28,000-square-foot museum also offers educational programs for children to inspire future generations of music-lovers while reinforcing a love of music and in adults.

Mississippi Museum of Art

With a mission “To Engage Mississippians with Visual Art,” the Mississippi Museum of Art provides a beautiful space to immerse yourself in art. Stroll through the free-to-the-public permanent gallery “The Mississippi Story,” with art from Mississippi natives like Marie Hull, Eudora Welty and John McCrady, or visit the Icons gallery with changing exhibits featuring art that ranges in style and genre. Don’t miss French-style patisserie La Brioche for lunch and treats and The Art Garden, a 1.2-acre green space and art installation, located just outside the museum doors.

Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Of Art

With some of the most beautiful and unique architecture in Mississippi, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art features a Frank Gehry-designed exterior and an interior that honors Mississippi master potter George Ohr and craftsman Pleasant Reed. The museum’s exhibits feature unique artworks in its permanent exhibits like the pottery of George Ohr, and “City Within a City: African American Culture in Biloxi” in addition to non-permanent exhibits like the embroidery work of Ruth Miller or sculpture by Martin Payton.

Observation Tower at Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Of Art

Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum

Biloxi’s Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum is the perfect destination for a less traditional museum experience. The space features fascinating exhibits on an industry that built the Mississippi Gulf Coast, with features on shrimping and oystering, fishing, boating and more with net-making exhibits, a shrimp-peeling machine, historic photographs and artifacts and information on the impact of hurricanes and wetland protection.

Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi

International Museum of Muslim Cultures

Jackson, Mississippi is likely not the place that comes to mind when one thinks of the home of America’s first International Museum of Muslim Cultures, but in 2001 it opened its doors in the capital city. The museum was founded by a group of Mississippi Muslims who decided to meet a need they saw to educate the public on the contributions Muslims have made to society as well as inform them of Islamic history. The museum offers tours for individuals as well as student groups and often hosts public events to promote knowledge of Muslim culture.

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