Mississippi Ag and Forestry Museum Near one of the busiest intersections in Jackson, you will find a farmstead from the 1860s, a rural town reminiscent of the 1920s and even a small fleet of retired crop dusters. What are these glimpses into the past doing just off the interstate in Mississippi’s largest city? They are part of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum and the National Agriculture Aviation Museum. For nearly three decades, these museums have given visitors a view of the state’s rich agricultural heritage, says museums Director Charlie Dixon. “What we have been able to preserve at the Agriculture and Forestry Museum provides visitors with an appreciation for the role agriculture has played in the history of Mississippi, as well as an appreciation for the work of the farmer and forester.” At the Fortenberry-Parkman farmstead, for instance, visitors get a glimpse of what it was like to live on a farm150 years ago. They can tour the main house and kitchen, which were brought to the site board-by-board and reconstructed, and see the grain buildings, mule pens, smokehouse and other outbuildings needed to make the farm self-sustaining. In another area of the nearly 40-acre museum site, visitors can step back in time to the 1920s strolling through a recreated rural town complete with general store, blacksmith shop, filling station, doctor’s office, print shop, veterinarian’s office, school house and even a Masonic lodge. Self-guided tours are available year round and during the museum’s harvest festival, the grist mill, cane mill, saw mill, print shop, and cotton gin are in operation. A nature trail through the forestry area offers another point of interest. When you’ve completed your tour of the outside exhibits, there’s plenty to see inside. “Our Heritage Center provides an exploration of the history and development of agriculture in Mississippi from the time of the Indians to sharecropper days to the present,” says Dixon. The exhibits are organized by the transportation mode most commonly used in agriculture during a specific period: water, rail, and road. Air transportation is also covered, with one-third of the Heritage Center devoted to the National Agriculture Aviation Museum. In addition to artifacts and exhibits that explain the importance of crop dusting and hydro seeding in agriculture, the museum is home to four crop dusters and the National Agriculture Aviation Hall of Fame. If You Go The Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum and the National Agriculture Aviation Museum are both located off Interstate 55 on Lakeland Drive in Jackson. The grounds are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children. For more information visit www.msagmuseum.org or call (800) 844-8687.

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