Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

State Spotlight: Mississippi

Courtesy Jackson CVB

The art of Jackson
In Mississippi’s largest city, arts play a big part in local life and culture. Visitors to Jackson can explore both fine arts and traditional crafts at various places around the area.

The Mississippi Museum of Art has a collection of more than 3,000 works, including the world’s largest collection of art by Mississippi artists. The museum moved into a new facility last year; the upgrade brought new features such as an outdoor art garden and an outdoor theater.

Jackson has also earned a reputation as one of the South’s premier ballet cities. Visitors can enjoy a performance by the local Ballet Magnificat! or attend the USA International Ballet Competition, which takes place in Jackson every four years.

Just outside of town, the Mississippi Craft Center presents traditional handmade crafts and the contemporary artisans who create them. Groups can peruse the offerings of Mississippi painters, carvers, basket weavers and glassblowers, or arrange for hands-on craft workshops.

Infinity on the Gulf Coast
For years, NASA has used its John C. Stennis Space Center on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast to test rocket engines and other high-tech equipment. Today, construction is under way on the Infinity Science Center, an on-site museum that will introduce visitors to the machines and projects on which NASA works in Mississippi.

Slated for opening in 2013, the new center will use a combination of space artifacts and high-tech exhibits to teach visitors about space exploration. The experience will begin in the museum’s courtyard, which will feature full-size NASA rockets and rocket engines.

Exhibit areas at the museum will include “Science Express,” where guests can experiment with wind tunnels and design their own rockets, as well as an earth gallery and a space gallery.

An immersive theater will feature a three-dimensional presentation with environmental effects. Groups that want a hands-on experience can sign up for one of several “training missions” that introduce them to the scientific work engineers do at the Stennis Center.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.