The Mississippi Museum of Art, located in the capital city of Jackson, is the largest art museum in the state. The museum and its outreach programs have thrived as a community-supported institution. We had a wonderful time at the museum and explored the surrounding area, but there is much more to see and do in downtown Jackson, Mississippi.
The free admission grants access to the permanent collection focusing on regional artists. There are featured exhibitions from time to time that require ticket purchases. We visited a temporary exhibit during our visit and highly recommend planning to include time for an in-depth experience at this museum.
Parking at the Mississippi Museum of Art
Next to the building entrance, we scored a parking spot in the museum's dedicated parking lot. There is additional parking on the streets surrounding the building and a commercial parking garage on the next block. There are other major city attractions within a few blocks of this museum, so have no worries about finding a parking place at or near the museum.
Touring the Mississippi Museum of Art
Indoors, I liked the open space and the high ceilings with sky views. First, we stopped at the in-house cafe, featuring farm-to-table dishes, including salads, sandwiches, and some fresh-brewed flavored teas. The food was delicious and some ingredients were sourced from the museum's outdoor garden, visible from the cafe. Before you go, check with the museum about the cafe hours of operation, or plan to visit one of the larger restaurants available nearby.
Art Exhibits at the Mississippi Museum of Art
Our second stop was the ticketing desk and then we moved into the spacious exhibit halls. The artwork is placed with care to allow visitors ample viewing scope. I could absorb the moment and evaluate my emotions while viewing the exhibits in these uncrowded rooms.
The permanent exhibits portray many cultural aspects of southern living and the Deep South. This collection has more than 5,000 works of art. The Mississippi Story, a curated exhibition of more than 200 objects, vividly tells the history and ongoing evolution of Mississippi's visual arts.
As a native Mississippian, my time inside the museum presented a valuable opportunity to expand my scope of knowledge and to escape into other worldviews for a brief time. Meanwhile, John was introduced to the variety of folk art on display and the extent of Mississippi's visual creations.
The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art
The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art is an open space in the heart of the downtown business district. Covering just over one acre, this park is essential to the city's creative vibe. The visual art in this outdoor space is engaging to visitors and provides workday respite for local residents working in the business district. For example, the walking trail winds by the various art exhibits and murals but it's also within a short walking distance of the local plant and flower displays and the popular water features.
The Art Garden is a versatile space and it's not unusual to see artists creating while enjoying the backdrop of the city park. The walking paths lead through seasonal foliage, farm-to-table garden beds that supply the indoor cafe and energizing water features.
Artist in Residence Program at the Mississippi Museum of Art
The Mississippi Museum of Art offers artist-in-residence programs at the national and in-state levels. These programs facilitate valuable opportunities for interaction with the state and local communities while generating creative works.
The Museum Store
The Museum Store is an extension of the exhibit space and adjacent to the entry and dining areas. The store features work from local artists and books about the area. These are valuable resources for visitors and locals alike. As a result, it was quite enjoyable to browse the museum store after spending time in the exhibit halls.
Before You Go
The museum is easily accessible from either I-20 or I-55 and is a quiet retreat for busy travelers. If you are in the area, take some time to explore downtown Jackson when the museums are open during the day.
The Mississippi Museum of Art hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Monday through Saturday and Noon to 6:00 pm on Sundays.
The special exhibits in the Barksdale Gallery cost $15 for adult admission. However, please be aware that admission is free for active military and their families from Armed Forces Day to Labor Day (2022) through the generous donations of the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families. There is no fee for participants in the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) and Southeastern Reciprocal Membership (SERM). For college students, admission is free to current Jackson State University and Tougaloo College students, faculty, and staff on all days the Museum is open to the public with contribution credit to the Hope Credit Union for their generous donations. Admission is also free for Mississippi State University students through the museum's Collegiate partner program.
If You Go to Jackson, Mississippi
The Iron Horse Grill – 320 W Pearl St, Jackson, MS 39203-3001 – 601-398-0151
Mayflower Cafe – 123 W. Capitol Street, Jackson MS 39201 – 601-355-4122
Hotels near the Mississippi Museum of Art:
Old Capitol Inn – 226 North State Street, Jackson, MS, 39201 This beautiful historic boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Jackson is a short walking distance to several museums and attractions.
Hilton Garden Inn – Jackson Downtown – 235 W Capitol St, Jackson, MS, 39201 This hotel was vacant for some 40 years but is now a luxury accommodation in the Hilton Hotel properties. The King Edward building has been completely restored with186 hotel guest rooms and 64 luxury residential apartments on the top floors.
The Fairview Inn – National Register of Historic Places 734 Fairview Street, Jackson, MS 39202. This luxurious and cozy B&B was built in 1908 and has the beautiful ambiance and charm of the era.
Things to Do:
Mississippi Museum of Art – 380 S Lamar St, Jackson, MS 39201-4007
Mississippi Museum of History – 222 North Street, Jackson, Mississippi. Open: Tuesday–Saturday 9 AM–5 PM and Sunday 11 AM–5 PM. Admission to the Two Mississippi Museums is FREE on Sundays.
JXN Welcome Center – 308 E. Pearl Street, Suite 100 – Jackson, Mississippi 39201 – 601-345-2550
International Museum of Muslim Cultures – 201 E Pascagoula St, Jackson, MS 39201-4101
A Final Note
Although this intriguing art collection is free for visitors and supported by charitable foundations, we were so impressed that we were honored to contribute a donation in the box at the exit.
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