We love exploring America’s back roads and small towns and finding overlooked gems that the tourist brochures never cover. In a series of weekly blog posts we will be sharing some of America’s lesser-known small town museums, historic sites, and oddball attractions, on a state-by-state basis. We don’t have room to cover each and every attraction in every state, but hope to give you some ideas for places to see in your travels.
Amory: The Amory Regional Museum is housed in the old Gilmore Sanitarium and displays information and artifacts on area history and medical services. Included are a child sized iron lung, medical equipment dating back to the 1800s, and a restored log cabin.
Clarksdale: The Delta Blues Museum tells the story of the musicians who brought blues to the world.
Columbus: Author Tennessee Williams lived in Columbus and his home at 300 Main Street is now the town’s Visitor Center.
Corinth: The Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center tells the story of the nation’s most divisive war with a focus on the Battle of Shiloh and other engagements fought nearby.
Corinth: Corinth is steeped in Civil War history and any tour of the area should include the Verandah-Curlee House. Originally known as the Veranda House, the 1857 home served as headquarters for Confederate Major General Braxton Bragg, General John Hood, and General Earl Van Dorn, as well as Union General Henry Halleck.
Jackson: At the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, you can learn about the careers of Mississippians who excelled in amateur and professional sports, from football to tennis to basketball.
Jackson: At the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center visitors can learn about the lives and achievements of African Americans in the South from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
Leland: The Highway 61 Blues Museum preserves the tradition of blues music born in this region.
Meridian: Peavey Electronics, the world’s foremost manufacturer of music amplifiers, is located in Meridian. The Peavey Visitor Center and Museum tells the company story from the days when young Hartley Peavey was building amplifiers in his parents basement and peddling them door to door, to today, when the biggest names in music come to town to shop for equipment.
Meridian: Country music legend Jimmie Rodgers “The Singing Brakeman,” who was born and raised in Meridian, is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery. The Jimmie Rodgers Museum here has exhibits on his life and career.
Natchez: Once one of the richest towns in the nation, Natchez is home to many beautiful antebellum mansions, some of which are open for tours.
Natchez: The Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture tells the story of the African Americans of Natchez from the 1890s to the 1950s.
Natchez: The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians tells the story of the Natchez people, who were all but wiped out during the European expansion.
Tupelo: Swivel hipped rock and roll singer Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo. The family home is now part of a museum.
Tupelo: The Tupelo Automobile Museum features 120,000 square feet of automobile displays and open viewing restoration bays. Over 100 antique, classic, and collectible automobiles are chronologically displayed, illustrating the progress of over 100 years of automobile design and engineering. Vehicles included in the collection include an 1886 Benz, representing the birth of the automobile, and culminates with a never-driven 1994 Dodge Viper. Also displayed are a rare Tucker, a Lincoln once owned by Elvis Presley, other movie and celebrity vehicles, and many more rare brands and American favorites.
Tupelo: In July, 1864, over 20,000 Union and Confederate troops fought a brief, bloody battle here. Tupelo National Battlefield displays a monument and two Civil War cannon to commemorate the battle.
Vicksburg: The Biedenharn Candy Company Coca-Cola Museum features the history of one of the nation’s most loved beverages, along with the equipment of the type Joseph Biedenharn used to bottle Coke in 1894. A wide variety of original Coca-Cola advertising and memorabilia is on display to allow visitors to follow the evolution of the popular soft drink. The restored candy store and office area takes visitors back to a simpler, sweeter time with furnishings and displays from the 1890s.
Vicksburg: Located on high ground, Vicksburg was a fortress guarding the Mississippi River during the Civil War. Its surrender on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, Louisiana, divided the South and gave the North undisputed control of the Mississippi River. Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg. The Vicksburg battlefield includes 1,330 monuments and markers, a 16 mile tour road, a restored Union gunboat, and a National Cemetery.
Vicksburg: Yesterday’s Children at 1104 Washington Street displays over 1,000 dolls and toys dating back to the mid-1800s.
Thought For The Day – Imagine how deep the ocean would be if it weren’t for all of those sponges down there.