At the Mississippi Children’s Museum,
We Take Fun Seriously!
We accomplish this mission through hands-on, engaging exhibits and programs focusing on literacy, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), and health and nutrition–the keys to helping our children mature into healthy and productive adult learners.
1994 – Our Start
The idea of the Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM) was born! A group of community volunteers saw the urgent need to improve the health, literacy, and well-being of Mississippi’s children, and so began the MCM project.
2003 – Junior League of Jackson
The Mississippi Children’s Museum became the Junior League of Jackson’s second signature project. The Junior League undertook a $26.6 million capital campaign and led a statewide team of educational partners, community and business leaders, elected officials, parents, volunteers, children, and nationally recognized children’s museum experts to plan, develop, and build a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, statewide children’s museum.
2010 – Opening
MCM opened in December 2010. This 40,000 square foot museum houses five galleries of educational, interactive exhibits and enriching weekly programs that focus on literacy; health and nutrition; the cultural arts; science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM); and Mississippi heritage.
2014 – The Literacy Garden
MCM opened a sixth outdoor, 13,000 square foot gallery, The Literacy Garden, which combines experiential artworks with unique landscape architecture that encourages early language and reading skills development.
2016 – East Mississippi Expansion
A group of community activists in Meridian, Mississippi, seeing the success and benefits that MCM has had throughout our state and specifically in the greater Jackson community, advocated for the expertise of the museum to serve the children of East Mississippi and launched its first capital campaign.
2019 – Breaking Ground
After years of research and development, MCM officially broke ground on October 28, 2019, in Meridian, Mississippi. MCM-Meridian will include a 25,000 square foot state of the art facility featuring 9,500 square feet of interior exhibits and an additional 25,000 square foot outdoor exhibit experience designed for Mississippi’s youngest residents as well as their entire circle of influence. Leaders from the community, government officials, MCM-Meridian and MCM representatives, and most importantly, local children, used their shovels to break ground and share in this momentous occasion.
2021 – MCM-Meridian Opening
MCM-Meridian anticipates opening its doors in the Spring of 2021! Please stay tuned for the release of our official grand opening date.
Literacy is fundamental to a child’s educational development: gaps in language create gaps in learning that are progressively problematic as children continue through school—and it is imperative to begin literacy development before formal education begins. Last year, nearly 1 in 2 elementary-aged Mississippi children failed to read at grade level.
MCM is committed to improving the early literacy development of Mississippi’s children on multiple levels:
through place-based experiences that incorporate literacy and language concepts within our galleries
- innovative programs that focus both on the mechanics of reading and the enjoyment of it
- resources provided to Mississippi families, schools, and teachers
- campaigns like Talk from the Start, a partnership between the Mississippi Children’s Museum and The Barksdale Reading Institute.
- research that contributes to the body of knowledge about how children learn.
Health and Nutrition
Mississippi is consistently ranked last, or next to last, in national health indicators. With 44% of children and 70% of adults in Mississippi listed as overweight or obese, these alarming statistics highlight the need for programs that target the health and wellbeing of Mississippi’s children.
MCM’s exhibits and programs are designed to introduce children to small changes that they can implement now that will make big differences as they grow, including:
- making more nutritious food choices
- becoming more physically active
- understanding how body systems work.
It is our goal to play a role in reversing the trend of childhood obesity, one generation at a time—the benefits of which, aside from healthier, longer lives, include improved behavior and academic performance in school.
Discover the Wonder of Wellness, a new program that launched in the Summer of 2020 to provide families with a library of educational resources about leading a healthy lifestyle.
MCM strives to incorporate the arts within all activities offered at the museum to encourage integrative learning. Arts integration provides children with an opportunity to discover interconnections between subjects and promotes lifelong, self-directed innovation and learning. We believe that the arts provide a meaningful context for:
- understanding our world
- examining challenges in new ways
- discovering how things work.
MCM’s programs and exhibits are designed to link children and their self-directed exploration of the arts with a wide range of art experiences and artists from around the state and beyond. They also provide opportunities for children to view and create art performances, as well as to participate in material explorations while investigating a variety of authentic art tools, techniques, and processes.
The future of Mississippi depends on its ability to boost student performance in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) subjects. With significant job growth in STEAM fields and increasing global competition, today’s students need a much earlier and stronger foundation in STEAM.
MCM strives to provide Mississippi children with access to quality science-based experiences, designed to provide a strong foundation in STEAM subject areas and foster vital learning and life skills. Through innovative STEAM-based exhibits, programs, and special events, MCM develops critical thinking and communication skills, creativity, and real-world problem solving through collaboration with children. These skills are vital to encouraging the next generation of creative thinkers and doers.
Learn more about our new STEAM-based, hands-on tinkering lab called the WonderBox at MCM and MCM-Meridian!
MCM strives to instill a sense of state pride in all Mississippi residents. A priority in all of our programs and exhibits is exposing children to Mississippi’s uniqueness:
- its rich culture of writers, musicians, and artists
- its racial history and geographic diversity
- its struggles and its triumphs