The first line of “Dixie,” a traditional song from the South serves as the article’s heading. My whole life has been spent in Mississippi, which was once the state in the Union that produced the most cotton and boasted the largest crop. The fertile soil comes from the Mississippi River Delta, and Mississippi farmers provide the know-how and the labor. The history of cotton in Mississippi is the story of the people who were responsible for the creation of one of the most powerful economic engines in the annals of the United States. Don’t let the fact that you’re singing “Dixie” throw you off track. The citizens of Mississippi take great pride in their citizenship in the United States of America. However, we also place a high value on our southern roots. There are still people in this day and age who look down their noses at anyone who is proud of their ancestry. It’s too bad about that. In the end… you are exactly who you are. I’ll get off my high horse now because that’s probably not something you want to read about.
This is truly a different kind of museum.
This past week, I was given the opportunity to explore the Cottonlandia Museum, which is located in Greenwood, Mississippi. This wonderful resource was completely hidden from my view until now. This is without a doubt one of the best and most interesting little museums that you will ever have the chance to spend an entire day in. These individuals have been collecting, preserving, and providing interpretations regarding the art, history, and natural science of this special region of our country for the past four decades. Cotton farming is given a disproportionate amount of attention here. I was completely unprepared for what was to come. We arrived late in the day and believed that we only had a limited amount of time, so we hurried from room to room in an attempt to see as much as we could while being on a tight leash.
High Warren III, who is a wealth of knowledge regarding everything connected to the Cottonlandia Museum, came to our rescue and saved us from certain doom. Along with an administrator from the nearby Mississippi Valley State University, he led us on a tour of the campus. Do you still remember attending that school? Jerry Rice, a legend in the National Football League and in professional football, attended Valley State University. You might assume that a museum with the name Cottonlandia would be dedicated to the agricultural history of the region. Greenwood, Mississippi is one of the most important cities in the Mississippi Delta, and a significant portion of the region’s wealth can be directly attributed to the agricultural sector. However, the Mississippi Delta is not about things but about people. The people who live in this area as well as the local industry are the subjects of focus at this museum.
The museum hosts an annual art competition for both established local artists and aspiring artists in the community. In this extremely competitive competition, winners will be awarded cash prizes. The value of some of the artwork that was awarded first place in the competition is estimated to be in the thousands of dollars. The artwork that was selected as the winner of this competition is displayed in its own room. The exhibit features works of art from various time periods, ranging from Primitive to Modern, and features carvings, paintings, and sculptures of exceptionally high quality. You can’t miss out on this!
When I walked into the room filled with tools and agricultural equipment, my eyes nearly flew out of my head because I am such a tool enthusiast. There are also pieces of machinery in addition to the hundreds of hand tools.
There is an old tractor with steel wheels and a horse-drawn carriage that was probably the Cadillac of its day. Both of these vehicles are made of steel. The public display of a whiskey still necessitated the acquisition of special permits from the relevant local law enforcement agencies.
In yet another large room, some of the most impressive Indian artifacts that can be seen anywhere in the world are displayed.
I’m not talking about things like arrowheads or other items that are frequently discovered, even though there are plenty of those. This unusual exhibit showcases several pieces of pottery, some of which are extremely rare and complete while others are less common and were found in fragments but were pieced back together to the point where they could be displayed.
Even if you could only see the display of trade beads, it would be worth your time to visit the Indian artifact room. The progression of bead styles can be seen through the 400 years of history in these trade beads originating from all corners of the globe. Cottonlandia Museum in Greenwood, Mississippi, received a donation of a collection that is unparalleled by any other museum in the world.
The life of Greenwood Leflore, a Choctaw political leader, a planter, and a Mississippi state senator, is the primary focus of The Malmaison Room. His home, which he had named Malmaison after the residence of Josephine, Empress of France, was destroyed in a fire in 1942. This room provides us with a glimpse of the splendor in which he lived by displaying photographs, pieces of furniture, and artifacts that were found in Malmaison.
Natural history is one of the primary focuses of the museum. In the Delta Swamp Room, there is a rustic bridge that leads to an observation area from which guests can see and hear the sounds of the animals that live in a Mississippi swamp. A display case made of glass contains fragments of the fossil of a prehistoric mastodon. These fragments are on display. These fossils were found in the neighboring county of Carroll, Mississippi, by a resident of the area. The museum is maintained through the contributions of kind benefactors and the membership fees paid by individuals who recognize the importance of a facility of this kind. The local school children are educated in rooms that are specifically designated for such purposes. Some visitors come while attending “Summer Camp,” while others are here on school-sponsored field trips. This visit only required a short day trip for me, but the Mississippi Delta Area is worthy of a longer trip as there is much to see there. If you have the time, I highly recommend it.
We are out of room to share any further information about this amazing museum. It is well worth your time to check it out at the earliest opportunity.