Kim Bowers, Elizabeth Vise Wilson, and Kimberly Denison
In the fall of 2014, local community activists, recognizing the positive educational and economic impact that would result for the East Mississippi community, began researching the possibility of bringing a high-quality children’s museum to Meridian. In the spring of 2015, these volunteers reached out to the Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM) for professional guidance because of MCM’s similar community-driven development, proven track record of success, dedication to high quality, and unwavering commitment to Mississippi’s children.
As discussions progressed, MCM’s leadership determined that the possibility existed for this proposed Meridian children’s museum developing as an extension location of the Mississippi Children’s Museum. MCM’s board formed an exploratory partnership with the Meridian volunteers to conduct a feasibility study which was completed in Fall 2015. This study revealed an overwhelming groundswell of community support for this project. In January 2016, MCM’s board of directors voted unanimously to move forward to establish the Mississippi Children’s Museum – Meridian.
As Mississippi’s only statewide children’s museum, MCM is dedicated to improving the lives and well-being of children throughout all of Mississippi. From MCM’s very inception, it was recognized that it would be imperative to reach outside of the museum’s physical walls in Jackson to have the greatest impact. The Mississippi Children’s Museum – Meridian offers an unprecedented opportunity to collaborate with East Mississippi to build a resource for this community where children from all backgrounds will be able to discover and achieve their potential.
The Mississippi Children’s Museum – Meridian broke ground on October 28, 2019. Construction is underway on 22nd Avenue and 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.