MCM Unveils New Traveling Exhibit, 'Rocky’s House'

Rocky's House promotes the Mississippi Children's Museum literacy campaign, Talk from the Start, and its mission to raise awareness that talking to and with children from birth is essential to learning to read.

The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Barksdale Reading Institute.

Credit: MS Children's Museum

Rocky’s House introduces caregivers and children to a cast of characters representing the diverse population of Mississippi, Rocky’s Friends.

Along with Rocky, they guide guests through three primary methods of language and literacy development: playing, talking, and reading. Visitors will learn about these methods and have a chance to play them into practice. MCM’s Education Team played an important role in creating the characters known as Rocky’s Friends and contributing to the educational and thematic development of the Rocky’s House traveling exhibit.

“Our museum is committed to developing innovative programs that address the needs of Mississippi’s children and set them on the path to success,” said MCM’s President and CEO, Susan Garrard. “Struggles with literacy are among the biggest challenges that our children face. This project is an unprecedented opportunity to partner with an acclaimed educational institution, The Barksdale Reading Institute, to create resources that will raise awareness and positively impact children and families in our state.”

A ribbon cutting at a museum with adults and children present
The ribbon was cut during a ceremony on Thursday, February 24 at The Mississippi Children's Museum.

A custom mascot, illustrated by MCM’s Senior Graphic Designer Lori Nesbit - Rocky the Reader - is the ambassador for the campaign. Rocky the Reader and Rocky’s House will travel statewide to communities including Jackson, Meridian, the Coast and the Delta. Rocky’s tour will share the campaign’s message, “We all play a part, talk from the start,” which encourages parents, caregivers, educators, and community supporters to talk to and with young children. You can request to book Rocky’s House in your community by visiting

“Our goal is to encourage and provide examples of the many ways that parents and adult caregivers can talk, read, and sing with and to infants and toddlers to help build their brains for reading. Studies have shown time and again that strong oral language and listening comprehension are critical to learning to read. This is a simple and no-cost way to boost literacy in our state,” said BRI CEO Kelly Butler.

The Talk from the Start Campaign and its companion project, the Rocky’s House traveling exhibit, have been made possible through funding by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

For more information, visit

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