More than 200 species swim through the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, and that's just the facility's aquatic residents. Beyond the aquarium network sprawls an abundance of plant and animal life both indoors and out. A trip through the museum campus reveals Mississippi's diverse ecosystems, as well as their relationship to humans.
Winner of the 2010 Medal for Museum and Library Service, the beautiful, newly-renovated Mississippi Museum of Art is home to a diverse and rapidly-expanding permanent collection, including American art, British 19th century portraits, Pre-Columbian ceramics, and more. Feast your eyes upon the museum's current exhibitions, including River and Reverie: Paintings of the Mississippi by Rolland Golden, the Mississippi Watercolor Society's Grand National Watercolor Exhibition, and Oraien Catledge: Photographs of Cabbagetown. Refuel your art-engines mid-visit with a hot lunch at The Palette Café by Viking. Using fresh, local ingredients, executive chef Emily Hine Burgess dishes out Southern-style meals influenced by the tastes and patterns of the museum's Mississippi home.
One of ESPN's ten best baseball museums and one of Jackson's top ten attractions, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum takes visitors through more than 21,000 square feet of exhibits and interactive displays. Travel back to the days of the Gashouse Gang with one of the best collections of Dizzy Dean memorabilia in the world, or leap forward in time at the Participatory Room, which allows fans to measure how fast they throw a baseball, kick a football, and spit a watermelon seed. Visitors can also try their hands at play-by-play broadcasting in the Cingular Wireless Broadcast Experience, and learn about the lives and achievements of such Mississippi sporting luminaries as Walter Payton, James "Cool Papa" Bell, and Archie Manning.
Dedicated to preserving Mississippi’s heritage, Cottonlandia Museum educates visitors with an array of interdisciplinary displays and collections. Cottonlandia’s permanent exhibits and rooms include the Mississippi Art Collection, an anthology of Mississippi-made art, most of it purchased from the winners of the biannual Cottonlandia Fine Arts Competition, and the Archaeology Room, home to a large assortment of Native American beads and a 12,000 year-old mastodon skeleton that they used to hang sabertooth fur coats. Meanwhile, the Malmaison Room presents photographs and furniture salvaged from the home of county namesake Greenwood Leflore, the last chief of the Choctaw tribe before their removal to Oklahoma, and the Swamp Room lets guests absorb the sights and sounds of the wetlands without brewing their own bog water out of bullfrog tears.
Called “likely the most elaborate museum in the U.S. about a single living musician” by the Wall Street Journal, the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center has enlightened more than 25,000 visitors about the rich cultural and musical heritage of the Mississippi delta since the museum opened in 2008. A vibrant presentation of personal papers, photographs, film, and life artifacts chronicles King's humble beginnings as a young musician touring the Chitlin' Circuit in the South and his ascension to become an international icon and a Grammy award-winner for “The Thrill is Gone." Introduce yourself to the King of the Blues in the museum's high-definition projection theater, or practice scales in a virtual guitar studio. Each exhibit looks at a specific era in B.B. King’s life, from his delta beginnings in the ‘30s all the way to the ‘90s, when he reclaimed his rightful place as King of Barbados.
Inside the brightly-lit confines of Fat Cat Art Cafe, shelves brim with bare-bisque pieces in the form of plates, mugs, and bowls. Visitors wield non-toxic, lead-free glazes and paints, embellishing items with designs such as flowers, abstract squiggles, or a squirrel's handprint before accommodating staff members fire the pieces, readying them for everyday use. Not just a paint-your-own pottery studio, Fat Cat Art Cafe offers specialty sessions such as Clay Day, where participants learn to make their own pottery pieces, and summer camps, where campers delve into daylong or weeklong projects such as creating a mosaic plaque, building flower pots out of clay coils, and making clay jars to store one?s nosehairs.