Celebrating 40 Years of the Mississippi Ag Museum

This year, the Mississippi Ag Museum celebrates its 40th anniversary on September 9, marking four decades of preserving Mississippi's agricultural heritage and igniting curiosity in the minds and hearts of all who step foot on its grounds.

MS Ag Museum aerial

In a recent interview with Amie Clark, the museum's educational and interpreter, we delved into its origins and mission to make agricultural history relevant and captivating for all ages.

What special events or activities are planned to commemorate this milestone?

Admission, usually $6, is reduced to just $4, in line with our 'forty' theme on September 9. We'll also have 40 activities, presentations, and demonstrations for all ages and interests, including the Natural Science Museum, the Spinners and Weavers Guild, and other wonderful organizations, from garden clubs to Audubon societies to the Dixieland Old Engine Club. Educational talks in our Sparkman Auditorium and interactive living historians, hailing from here to Wisconsin, in Small Town, will breathe life into history and transport you back in time.

Our cherished regular demonstrations will also continue; witness our sawmill, blacksmiths, wood turners, and print shop in action. It's going to be a day of education, celebration, and exploration.

Bruce Hartfield, Jim Buck Ross, John R. Block and Hugh Arant cut the ribbon during dedication ceremonies at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum on Sept. 20, 1983.
Bruce Hartfield, Jim Buck Ross, John R. Block and Hugh Arant cut the ribbon during dedication ceremonies at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum on Sept. 20, 1983
Credit: MS Ag and Forestry Museum

How has the Mississippi Ag Museum evolved over the past 40 years. wWat role has it played in showcasing the state's agricultural heritage?

The Mississippi Ag Museum was founded in 1983 by Commissioner Jim Buck Ross, who recognized the need to preserve our state's agricultural heritage. Combining private donations and state funds, the museum became a part of the State Department of Agriculture and started to grow with buildings donated and moved into Small Town, Mississippi, our living history farm and preservation center.

Our narrative spans from Native American agriculture to the road, rail, and water eras, tracing the evolution that opened Mississippi's doors to agriculture and forestry. The mission at our core is to communicate the importance of agriculture and forestry to our community. This extends to the present, where agriculture affects every facet of life, connecting us all on a fundamental level.

MS Ag Museum wood splitting
Credit: MS Ag and Forestry Museum

Looking ahead, how do you envision the Mississippi Ag Museum's future after this milestone anniversary?

From the clothes you wear to the meals you eat, even your house – agriculture shapes it all. Mississippi might face misconceptions on a larger stage, but our expertise in agriculture is undeniable. We're pioneers in this realm, and we aim to bridge the past with the present. By experiencing our museum, families connect, and kids find relevance with lessons that resonate.

We're a living testament to Mississippi's spirit. Moving forward, education remains our guiding star. We want every visitor, from schoolchildren to grandparents, to witness this broader narrative that defines and unites us.

Anne Marie Hanna


Anne Marie Hanna