December 22, 2018 9:58:27 PM
From rare rocks and antique clocks to self-playing instruments and eye-opening insects, Mississippi State's museums and galleries have something for everyone.
Curious visitors and serious researchers can investigate the more than 20 museums and collections highlighting different disciplines in the sciences, arts and humanities. Many of these are free and open to the public year-round.
"Our galleries and collections bring 15,000 to 18,000 people to campus each year, including school-aged children, researchers, university students and faculty, and families," said Amy Moe-Hoffman, chair of MSU's museums and galleries committee who also serves as an instructor in the university's Department of Geosciences. "We are very proud of our museums and galleries' contributions to education and outreach, and we are continually working to increase our impact and further support the mission of the university."
Located at Cullis Wade Depot is the Cullis and Gladys Wade Clock Museum, where more than 400 clocks and watches dating back to the 1700s are exhibited year-round. The collection belonged to MSU electrical engineering alumnus and renowned antique clock collector, the late Charles Cullis Wade of Newton, and his late wife, Gladys Valentine Wade of Laurel. While most are original productions, several clocks were customized by Cullis Wade with hand-painted glass designs, and a number of French clocks and several English and German pieces are featured.
Making MSU a leading destination for research on the Civil War, Reconstruction and the nation's 16th and 18th presidents, the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana are housed in Mitchell Memorial Library. In November 2017, MSU Libraries celebrated the opening of the state-of-the-art museum chronicling Grant and Lincoln's lives through correspondence, photographs, paintings, engravings, statues and other artifacts and ephemera.
The library also is where patrons can explore the Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum, a collection that was donated to MSU nearly 30 years ago by the late Starkville businessman. Highlighting the industry when ragtime dominated popular American music, the collection tells the story of the "business of music" through more than 22,000 pieces of sheet music, 200 self-playing musical instruments, 15,000 recordings and unique musical memorabilia from the 1880s-1930s.
Tools to anthropods
The Cully A. Cobb Antique Tool Museum, maintained by the College of Forest Resources, is another must-see collection. The museum serves as a showplace for more than 350 antique tools, axes, saws, hammers, drills and chisels that can be viewed by appointment.
MSU's museums and galleries committee also hosts a number of fun, collaborative events each year to raise awareness of the resources available to the university and local communities. "Science Night at the Museum" draws all ages to the university's Lois Dowdle Cobb Museum of Archaeology and the Dunn-Seiler Museum. Participants can observe scientific demonstrations in a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, art, astronomy, biology, chemistry, meteorology, physics and veterinary science.
"I love seeing people of all ages get excited about science while learning more about the importance of the collections on campus," Moe-Hoffman said.
Objects in the Cobb Museum of Archaeology are a must-see for the avid archaeologist, educator or curious patron interested in learning more about the ancient Middle East and southeastern U.S. Located on Lee Boulevard, the museum houses a significant collection of casts of ancient Near Eastern sculptures and panels that were donated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Among these are replicas of the Code of Hammurabi, the Moabite Stone, the Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III and the Rosetta Stone.
With collections dating to the late 1800s, the Dunn-Seiler Museum houses extensive mineral, rock and fossil collections that help visitors visualize and understand the 4.6 billion-year history of planet Earth. Public displays include such specimens as a Triceratops skull cast, Cretaceous crocodile skull, minerals from around the world, and recent donations and exhibits about Mississippi's geologic history. Museum tours, presentations and fossil excursions can be arranged, along with use of specimens for research purposes.
Other impressive specimen collections include those at the MSU Extension Arthropod Zoo. Featured are insects, millipedes, centipedes, tarantulas, spiders, scorpions and a variety of other local and exotic arthropods as part of a walk-through or guided tour.
The nearly 40-year-old Mississippi Entomological Museum preserves the southeastern U.S.'s third largest insect collection of 1.6 million specimens. In addition to large holdings from the southeastern and southwestern U.S. and Panama, the museum has long-term loans of the University of Mississippi insect collection and the Smithsonian Institution grasshopper collection. Cultural entomology is represented by the Matt Bouchard collection of cinema posters and memorabilia relating to movies about arthropods and the Richard Peigler collection of textiles made from wild silk moth cocoons.
To learn more about the breadth of collections and current events or to see any of MSU's museums and galleries, call 662-325-1053, visit museums.msstate.edu or follow the Mississippi State University Museums and Galleries on Facebook.