The museum's mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of Mississippi's biological diversity through collections, research, scientific databases, education, and exhibits; and to inspire the people of our state to respect the environment and to preserve natural Mississippi.
The MDWFP Museum of Natural Science is located in Jackson, Mississippi, tucked within historic LeFleur's Bluff State Park. Inside the park, the Museum's buildings and grounds include a 73,000-square foot building featuring vast expanses of glass overlooking a 300-acre natural landscape, 2.5 miles of nature trails, and an open-air amphitheater. Located inside the museum are a variety of exciting exhibits including a series of life-size displays of the state's diverse habitats, a 100,000-gallon aquarium network housing over 200 living species, and a 1,700-square foot greenhouse called "The Swamp."
Our committed staff maintains over 30,000 square feet of permanent exhibits, along with a gift shop, a 200-seat theater, classroom space, and a safe storage environment for the museum's biological archives - a vast collection accessed regularly by scientist around the world. The building's design and layout encourages visitors to share their time between the indoor exhibits and the outdoor environment, moving between informative indoor models and their reality in a natural Mississippi setting.
Indoors, the central atrium's octagonal skylight illuminates a spectacular exhibit of white-tailed deer and soaring waterfowl. Around the corner, Mississippi's antediluvian past is commemorated in an entire wall of fossil specimens, and a special area for preschoolers is marked by colorful murals, and a giant treehouse. The outdoor trails meander through wooded bluffs, river bottoms, lakes, and scenic swamplands, offering ample and diverse opportunities for nature walks, photography, and the study of living things in their natural landscape.
A Museum's permanent exhibits are its backbone; they announce the Museum's mission and give substance to its public message. At the same time, changing displays and special temporary exhibits are its lifeblood, providing inspiration and relevance for educational programming and compelling visitors to return again and again. Each year, more than 100,000 visitors are inspired by what they learned about the natural world in the Museum's permanent and special exhibits.
Established in 1932, the Museum was essentially born out of its founder Fannye Cook's passion for collecting and studying Mississippi's natural world and has continued to grow under the direction of strong leadership through the years. The museum's history has always been inextricably linked to a devotion to studying and preserving the state's natural resources. The efforts of over 80 years of study are assembled in the Museum's vast scientific collections, housed in a safe-storage environment in order to better preserve the specimens. Our collections currently consist of more than 870,000 specimens, representing the largest single reference for Mississippi vertebrate animals and freshwater mussels in existence.
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and a member of the Association of Science - Technology Centers, the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science is a credible learning institution and a recognized attraction offering membership benefits.
Click here to see a list of awards received by the museum in recent years.
The MDWFP Museum of Natural Science is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).