Mississippi Children's Museum

Educational Initiatives

Why a children's museum?

Museums are informal learning environments and children’s museums especially make learning hands-on, interactive, and most importantly fun! This is essential for capturing the interests and minds of our youngest audiences.

At the Mississippi Children’s Museum, we take fun seriously but we also take the learning value of our educational mission seriously too.

Literacy Initiative

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 consistently is 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 and relevancy of 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.

Cultural Arts

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 and practice of the arts with a wide range of arts 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.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

The future of Mississippi depends on its ability to boost student performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. With significant job growth in STEM fields and increasing global competition, today’s students need a much earlier and stronger foundation in STEM.

MCM strives to provide Mississippi children with access to quality science-based experiences, designed to provide a strong foundation in STEM subject areas and foster vital learning and life skills. Through innovative STEM based exhibits, programs and special events, MCM develops critical thinking and communication skills, creativity and real-world problem solving through collaboration in children. These skills are vital to encouraging the next generation of creative thinkers and doers.

Mississippi Heritage

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

Elements of Mississippi heritage are woven throughout the museum’s six galleries:

  • famous Mississippi musicians are featured prominently in the cultural arts gallery
  • the literacy gallery highlights renowned Mississippi authors and their works
  • Mississippi agriculture and industry are introduced in MCM’s gallery focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).