The Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM) was born from the vital need to improve the health and literacy of Mississippi’s children. Ranked 50th in the nation for both childhood health and literacy, members of the community recognized an immediate need for creative, engaging educational resources for Mississippi children and their families. In 1994, inspired by children’s museums across the country, a small handful of supporters rose up in response to this need, and began the extensive process that led to what is now MCM.
Incorporated in 2004, MCM is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving children and families throughout the state of Mississippi. The museum’s mission is to provide unparalleled experiences that ignite a thirst for discovery, knowledge and learning in all children. MCM’s vision is to inspire Mississippi’s children from all backgrounds to discover and achieve their potential.
The museum is a 40,000 square foot building with five galleries of educational, interactive exhibits and enriching weekly program activities in the key focus areas of cultural arts; literacy; health and nutrition; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and Mississippi heritage. After nearly ten years of planning and development, the museum opened to the public in December 2010. The journey to create the museum was undertaken as a community, and is a collaboration among a statewide team of educational partners, community leaders, elected officials, philanthropists, corporate and private business leaders, parents, volunteers, children, and nationally recognized children’s museum experts. MCM’s goal is to empower and inspire all our state’s children, regardless of their social, educational or economic background, to discover their potential through tapping their curiosity and creativity. Our strengths lie in providing world-class exhibits which promote lifelong learning for children and those who care for them. Exhibit design and development is rooted in the best research in early childhood development to reach children ages 0-12. Visits to and activities of MCM instill in children the wonder of discovery and a love of learning, with special emphasis on those children who need new, creative experiences otherwise not available to them. MCM is a principal in tackling the substantial developmental obstacles that face Mississippi children and their caregivers. The museum worked with the State Department of Education to align exhibits and programs with common core curriculum standards and the state’s visual and performing arts framework.
The museum understands the importance of strong community partnerships and collaborations and since opening has collaborated with over 35 organizations serving Mississippi’s vulnerable and economically disadvantaged children. The museum serves children and families throughout our largely rural and agricultural state of 47,000 square miles with approximately 63 people per square mile. MCM is committed to remaining accessible to our broad and primarily economically disadvantaged population by keeping ticket prices affordable and programs free of charge to all visitors. In the first year of operation, the museum had over 225,000 visitors, was awarded 2010-2011 Travel Attraction of the Year by the Mississippi Tourism Association, and had an estimated $18 million impact on the city of Jackson.