Sometimes good ideas come from unusual circumstances, and the littlest things can be the biggest surprise. The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum fits the bill for both of these.
Out of Pocket
When COVID-19 led to the closing of the historic Saenger Theater last year, no one knew just what was in store for the downtown Hattiesburg staple. As the pandemic continued into the summer of 2020, the theater staff and the Hattiesburg Convention Commission staff came together.
From a resolve to offer the community a creative escape just like a show at the theater would do, an idea was born. With a shoestring budget and a lot of elbow grease, a boarded-up window in the back of a storeroom was transformed into a miniature museum.
The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum brought new life to an old forgotten, hidden window facing a back alley. What was once boarded up is now a display cabinet enclosed in glass. A sign was made. Lighting was added. A speaker was connected. The museum debuted in August 2020 with its first exhibit!
What’s in Pocket?
The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum showcases fanciful, pint-sized exhibits that are always changing! For example, the first exhibit was a unique collection of 115 Swiss Army “pocket” knives. There were knives that looked like a skateboard, corn on the cob, gingerbread man and more.
In November, a mini-mainstay was introduced—Milo, the Ukrainian mouse and museum curator! He and his son Winslow made the trip together. They were joined by his wife Rose and daughter Poppy in December. A fun element is finding at least one of the mice family members in every exhibit!
The most recent exhibit in April let visitors take a trip down fairy lane! As in “oh my gourd!” Fairy houses made out of gourds by a local artist were on display all month long. You never know what tiny “surprise and delight” is waiting for you at the Pocket Museum.
Big Attention for a Little Museum
Much to the surprise and delight of the museum’s creators, it has been a huge hit. Since opening less than a year ago, more than 70,000 visitors have found Mississippi’s smallest museum. In fact, the “secret” alley location caused it to be shared on social media, which made more people come.
More than Mini Displays
There’s more to the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum than tiny dioramas. In addition, visitors will find photo opportunities like the three-dimensional Abbey Road. Other art installations spotlighted in the alley include a painting on the parking garage, street art pieces and murals.
Plus, additional miniature scenes have been set on various utility boxes adding a “find and seek” element.
Actually, mark your calendars for a special upcoming free event this Saturday, May 22nd, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for children ages 3 to 8. Join friends for “Storywalk” and exercise your mind and body through reading while walking downtown.
Moral of the story? Good things come in little packages at just the right time! Speaking of time, are you looking for a new place to spend most of your time? Whether you are in the market for an apartment this summer or this fall, connect with The Belmont.
Learn more about the big little life in Hattiesburg by reading our other blogs.