Ag museum announces plans at 40th anniversary celebration

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson cuts a ribbon Saturday commemorating the 40th...
Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson cuts a ribbon Saturday commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum(Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce)
Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 3:57 PM CDT
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From Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Marketing Development/Public Relations

JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - After a ceremonial nod to its past, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum unveiled some of its plans for the future Saturday.

Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson cut a ribbon commemorating the museum’s 40 years of educating the public on the importance of agriculture.

Gipson also addressed upcoming plans for museum improvements.

“I am proud to announce (Saturday) that the next phase of our renovations will include upgrading, renovating and preserving the 1897 Church in Small Town, Mississippi,” Gipson said. “The public can support this and other efforts by becoming a member of the museum.”

Gipson, along with other museum officials, replicated the grand opening ceremony led by former Agriculture Commissioner Jim Buck Ross on the opening day of the museum, on Sept. 20, 1983.

“This is a historic moment as we gather today to celebrate the 40th birthday of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum,” Gipson said. “Forty years ago, when I was in kindergarten, I walked across the bridge for the very first time when the museum opened in 1983.

“This museum is and will continue to be a great testament and legacy for Mississippi’s agricultural and forestry industries. This museum would not exist if it weren’t for the vision of former Commissioner Jim Buck Ross. Millions of people have walked through the gates being a part of the great experience of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum since its opening.”

Gipson was joined by:

  • Theresa Love, executive director of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum
  • Dr. Bill Herndon, chairman of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum Foundation
  • Mike Massey, member of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum Foundation
  • Glenn Holloway, representative of the National Agricultural Aviation Museum.

In addition to all the unique exhibits at the museum, visitors were treated to 40 experiences throughout the museum grounds.

The 39 acres of the museum’s grounds make up 44 exhibits with eight annual events giving visitors a glimpse into past rural life and the opportunity to see how agriculture has shaped Mississippi over time.

The Heritage Center Gallery exhibits 500 years of Mississippi’s agricultural history, from the early contributions to agriculture of the Choctaw population, to turn of the century forest conservation, to modern catfish farming.

The aviation museum features more than 5,000-square-feet of informational videos, colorful photographs and actual planes.

The Fortenberry-Parkman Farmstead, a designated Mississippi Landmark dating back to 1860, includes many of the original buildings from a farmstead once located in Jefferson Davis County.

Another popular attraction is Small Town, Mississippi, a true-to-size replica 1920s crossroad town featuring a working cotton gin, print shop, filling station, blacksmith shop, church, schoolhouse, doctor’s office and general store stocked with local Mississippi products.

The Children’s Barnyard houses a variety of farm animals.

The Fitzgerald Collection, located off the beaten path on the museum grounds, is a museum-quality collection of antiques featuring Native American and Americana artifacts.

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