New barn exhibit opens following Miss. Ag and Forestry Museum fire
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - From the ashes come new life at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum.
Since fire destroyed several buildings, attendance has been down by roughly 30,000 visitors annually.
Officials hope renovations will bring the return of attendees wanting to learn more about the state’s agricultural history.
A new barn was built displaying more than 20 pieces of historic farm equipment dating back to the 1800′s.
“A lot of people thought the entire complex had burned,” said MS Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson. “The fire was so hot and raging."
That November 2014 blaze destroyed the children’s barn yard, a vet clinic, a maintenance shop and storage sheds. But on Monday, a new barn, with more than 5,000 square feet, welcomed visitors.
Beneath it is historic equipment from tractors, to mule drawn mowers and hay balers along with grist mills.
“The type of construction is the old fashioned mortise and tenon construction,” said Gipson. “Where we’re standing right now there was nothing but smoke and ashes and flames, and today here young people are out here experiencing Mississippi agriculture in a very new and beautiful setting."
Next door to the barn is the new 4,000 square foot maintenance and restoration shop. In the middle sits a late 1800′s corn picker, waiting to be refurbished.
“It’s really fascinating to see it all here,” said Morgan Angel who was visiting the Ag and Forestry Museum Monday.
The Belhaven University graduate visits the museum often and is interested in the evolution of the farm equipment.
“We didn’t get to see this before and it’s really neat to be able to see it now,” added Angel. “Just see really how it goes through the stages of history, of how it started with the tractor process, the haying process, how it started and keeps going."
Two-thirds of the renovations are complete. A ribbon cutting will be held in October celebrating the re-opening of the children’s barn and the return of livestock.
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