The Power of Museums: International Museum Day

Museums have the power to transform the world around us. As incomparable places of discovery, they teach us about our past and open our minds to new ideas — two essential steps in building a better future.

The Community Foundation for Mississippi is proud to support and partner with museums around the state in many ways. On International Museums Day, take a look at just a few museums (and their funds!) close to our hearts. Perhaps you will even get out and discover them for yourself, learning more about our great state.

Opening day at the Two Mississippi Museums. Myrlie Evers stands with a crowd clapping with the Community Foundation for Mississippi Gallery in the background.
A crowd, including Myrlie Evers (center), claps during the opening of the Two Mississippi Museums. The Community Foundation for Mississippi Gallery at the Museum of Mississippi History can be seen in the background.

Two Mississippi Museums: Museum of Mississippi History

The Community Foundation for Mississippi made a $750,000 contribution to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Two Mississippi Museums project. The gift, made possible by a bequest from John F. and Lucy Shackelford, sponsored the permanent exhibit gallery at the Museum of Mississippi History, now known as the Community Foundation for Mississippi Gallery.

“There could be no more appropriate sponsor for the permanent exhibit gallery of the state history museum than the Community Foundation for Mississippi, and we are deeply grateful to the Shackelford family who made that gift possible,” said MDAH director Katie Blount at the time. “Both the Community Foundation and the Shackelford gift embody what the museum is all about: One Mississippi, Many Stories.”

Image of the Oaks House Museum with the Oaks House Museum sign prominently in the front.

The Oaks House Museum

Just a short drive from the Two Mississippi Museums, the Oaks House Museum is a Greek Revival-style cottage built in 1853 on four acres of land located near the center of Mississippi’s capital city. A Mississippi Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Oaks House is one of Jackson’s oldest dwellings. 

From 2018 to 2020, gifts from the John and Lucy Shackelford Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi have assisted the museum with repairs to HVAC, foundation, a brick walkway and handrails. Funds have also helped the museum begin long-range planning.

Front of Smith Robertson Museum.
Smith Robertson Museum. Photo courtesy City of Jackson.

Friends of Smith Robertson Museum Fund

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity awaits you inside the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center. Located a stone’s throw from the State Capitol building, it’s just within walking distance of principal businesses and attractions in downtown Jackson. This fund was established to support the programs and operations of Smith Robertson Museum, a restored building housing art exhibits, photos & artifacts exploring local African-American history. Located in Jackson’s first public school building for African-Americans, this museum, named after a former slave who went on to become the first African-American alderman in Jackson, chronicles the everyday lives and culture of people of African decent living in the South during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Before you head to the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, start here. You can support the fund online here.

Image of the Delta Blues Museum Blues Marker sign as people walk behind to the entrance of the Delta Blues Museum
The Delta Blues Museum is also home to a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker. Photo courtesy Visit Clarksdale.

Delta Blues Museum Fund

The Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value and perspective by exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form of the blues. Since its creation, the Delta Blues Museum has preserved, interpreted, and encouraged a deep interest in the story of the blues. Established in 1979 by the Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees and re-organized as a stand-alone museum in 1999, the Delta Blues Museum is the state’s oldest music museum. The Delta Blues Museum Fund at the Community Foundation helps operate the museum, keeping the story of the blues alive in the Mississippi Delta. Support the museum here.

A child sits at an interactive crane at the Mississippi Children's Museum.

Mississippi Children’s Museum Endowment Fund

At the Mississippi Children’s Museum, they take fun seriously! The mission of MCM is to create unparalleled experiences to inspire excellence and a lifelong joy of learning.

They accomplish this mission through hands-on, engaging exhibits and programs focusing on literacy, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), and health and nutrition–the keys to helping our children mature into healthy and productive adult learners.

Their fund at the Community Foundation helps keep the museum sustainable, keeping the doors open for many years to come! Support them today with their fund here.

A young girl stands face to face with a robotic dinosaur with her arm outstretched. Children look on in the background.

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Foundation Endowment Fund

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks’ Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is tucked within historic LeFleur’s Bluff State Park next to its LeFleur Museum District neighbor, the Mississippi Children’s Museum. The museum’s vast expanses of glass overlook a 300-acre natural landscape, an open-air amphitheater, and 2.5 miles of nature trails. Inside, meet over 200 living species in our 100,000-gallon aquarium network and explore 73,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibits which include deer, waterfowl, fossils, and Mississippi’s endangered species!

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Foundation’s endowment fund helps ensure that Mississippians will be able to learn about the state’s natural resources for many generations. You can support their fund online here.