JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Children’s Museum in Jackson managed to endure the COVID-19 shutdown last year and came out even better.

There’s the old idea about finding the best cafe in a town, follow the truckers. Well, to find the most popular part of the Children’s Museum in Jackson, just follow the kids. 

“My favorite thing is the underground, the house, the slide,” said Mya, one of the children who visited the museum.

The Mississippi Children’s Museum was finished in 2010. The Junior League raised $26.5 million for this project, and it has been worth every cent. Kids have a great time at the museum while learning. Susan Garrard, president and CEO of the Mississippi Children’s Museum, said there’s a plan to this play. 

“We are trying to reach Mississippi’s children with unparalleled experiences that inspire excellence and really in still a lifelong love of learning. We do that through creating very excellent exhibits, hands on experiences, programs, educational programs,” she explained.

Obviously, they have been successful. Not only is the place packed a good bit of the time, but recently Garrard said the museum received a prestigious national award. 

“The Institute of Museum Library Services awarded the Mississippi Children’s Museum their National Medal of Honor, and we received that recognition this summer. And it was really a thrill for our organization, for our staff, for our volunteers,” she stated.

Not only that, there is a new area to play and create; the Wonder Box, which is a hands-on place where kids can build and learn about builders and inventors from Mississippi and see who they are and some of what they made. 

During the COVID-19 shutdown, the museum became a virtual school room where students without access to computers at home came here every day and were set up with equipment needed to continue their classwork. From that, an afternoon program has grown fore more than 100 children.