This article talks about the discovery center in Gulfport MS.
Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is dedicated to inspiring children, families and communities through the arts, interactive educational experiences and exploration.
Today, more than 400 children’s museums throughout the United States break the rules of traditional museums by encouraging visitors to touch, talk, interact and have fun. The exhibits are catalysts for questions, exploration and discovery, and the entire facility is a playground for the mind. We are happy to be among those many museums and are proud to have been the first children’s museum in Mississippi.
Located in the renovated Mississippi City Elementary School, constructed in 1915 and an architectural exhibition itself, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center offers 15,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space, six acres of outdoor play space, a spacious theatre, Viking kitchen and other great facilities for community use.
From its inception, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center has been a community project. With initial funding in 1991 from Gulfport MS Junior Auxiliary, co-founders Rose Alman and Carole Lynn Meadows led the team to make the dream a reality. In May 1998, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center opened its doors to the community. Named in memory of the daughter of Carole Lynn and Joe Meadows who died tragically in a car accident in 1984 while a student at Ole Miss, the museum already had a place deep in the hearts of the community.
In 2005, the Mississippi Gulf Coast experienced “the worst natural disaster in US history,” Hurricane Katrina. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center stood strong among the old live oaks, but the storm surge reduced the entire first floor of exhibits, artist studio and staff office to rubble. The education building was destroyed, the pavilion was left a shell and the gymnasium multi-purpose spaces were flooded.
Lynn Meadows Discovery Center has since rebuilt, growing bigger and better with every year. The WINGS Performing Arts and Education Center opened in 2009, providing another outlet for creativity.
In September 2011, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center was the recipient of a $1.2 million CIAP grant which allowed for acquisition of property south of the existing museum. In June 2016, “On the Green” Outdoor exhibit premiered at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center bringing children’s imagination to life, while educating them about our natural environment. Outdoor features include a weather station, outdoor musical garden, art area with natural slate, a “tree cookie” playground. and a three deck level Ship Island Lookout with telescopes and educational signage.
In April 2016, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center was awarded the highest honor a museum can receive- the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This award, presented by the First Lady of the United States, is given as a tribute to the organization’s ability to make a difference in the lives of children, families and communities through extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. LMDC was one out of only 10 recipients throughout the nation.
Just like the children who enter our doors, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center will continually grow and improve, expanding and changing our exhibits, adding and enhancing our offerings and constantly learning along the way! We hope you’ll join us on our journey.