I wanted to share with my Lumberjock friends what my family and I done this morning. There is a new museum that recently opened in Vicksburg, Mississippi. This was our first time visiting it and we had a good time. So I wanted to show ya’ll.
The main attraction of the museum is the M/V Mississippi IV, which you get to go on and explore all five decks of. Also, this is not one of those “do not touch” places. There are plenty of interactive things for the kids to do. It is very interesting.
Inside the main building, you’ll learn all about the Mississippi River, the U.S. Army Corps. Of Engineers, and how they influenced the river over the history of it. This photo shows a wishing well in the foyer. It is about fifteen feet across it and shows all the tributary waterways that empty into the Mississippi.
You watch a fifteen minute film, then it’s on to the museum.
These were models that are presented showing how Vicksburg, and pretty much all river towns along the Mississippi river, developed over the years.
As I said before, there is so much that is interactive for the kids. All the models have activities or a phone where the kids can pick it up and hear about the model, instead of having to read the information. This makes it more likely for younger ones to want to learn without getting bored.
Remember the main attraction of this museum is a retired boat, so these models showed the progression of boating on the Mississippi and how they advanced through history.
Here is another example of the interactive displays for kids. On this one, there is a model of a town with a river running around it. The kids can push a button to increase water flow and flood the town. As an adult, if you study the different areas on the display though, you can also see the difference things such as levis make to the severity of flooding in low lying areas.
There are a lot of displays of tools used for mapping the river and such in the main building.
There is so much more to show in the main building, but it would take so much to show it all here. My family will be going back again. So maybe I’ll show more on later trips if people show an interest in this post.
As you walk through the back of the main building, and outside, you can turn and see a nice view of the River at the Vicksburg waterfront.
Then it’s on to the main attraction, the boat, the M/V Mississippi IV. The name does have a meaning. This was the fourth boat used by the Corps. to navigate the river. The M/V stands for motor vessel. This was the first to use a deisel engine. The first three ships they used were steam powered.
There are five decks to explore on the boat. There is so much to see that I don’t think you could possibly catch it all on one trip. That is why I know my family and I will be going back again.
As you enter the ship into the conference hall, there are pamphlets you can pick up there. You can get a map of the boat. There’s one for the kids that, in addition to the other interactive displays, they can also do a scavenger hunt to watch for various items around the boat. My kids done this and had a ball.
The thing they had the hardest time with was the mashed potatoes. They seen a kitchen on this first deck and thought they’d find it. However, it was only breakfast items on display. It was not until later, when they found the main galley, that they found the mashed potatoes.
There is also something for kids who are boy scouts. My kids are not scouts, so I don’t know the details, but there are activities that scouts can do on the boat that allow them to earn some kind of badge.
This is the kitchen I mentioned where my kids found the breakfast items. Each room of the ship is set up like this. This one has plastic food items. It is meant to make it look and feel just as life did on the boat when it was being used.
Here is one of the many sleeping compartments on the vessel. Each one is different though. It depicts how each person had different interests. Some had magazines, some books, some typewriters, some even had journals you could flip through and read to get an idea of life on the boat.
This is the radio room. You can learn about a lot of the equipment here. My kids learned a little morse code by following the instructions in the room.
You can walk around all the outside decks, but this is my favorite on, outside the pilot house. From here you can see beautiful views of the city of Vicksburg.
Inside the pilot house, there are more interactive displays where kids and adults alike can learn about the controls and what it took to navigate one of these huge vessles safely.
This was my kid’s favorite part of the pilot house, and the whole boat I think. Here, you have a simulation exercise. You use the controls and a computer program, there are six different ones, to actually feel like you’re navigating the boat. We later learned that these are actual programs they used a long time ago that aspiring river pilots had to do well on before moving ahead in the training program.
Then we went down below all the three previous decks we’d looked at, into the main galley and engine room. Since it had bee years since I’d been on a large ship like this, I forgot how steep the stairs are on these things.
This tour almost got me in trouble with my wife. When she seen the size of the galley and this stove, she wants a similar kitchen at home.
The lowest deck was my favorite part of the whole ship. This is the mechanical quarter, engine room, generators, and such.
This is the top of one of the two Norberg eight cyclinder diesel engines that powered the boat. These things are massive. Each one of those white box things you see on top is a valve cover for one of the cyclinder.
Each one of those cyclinder houses one of these huge pistons. With me doing mechanic work four years and working with pistons in the four inch range, these things are amazing to me.
Here’s a view of the sides of one of these huge engines. They are taller than me and about twenty feet long.
As I said before, one could spend days exploring this boat. We were all getting tired though. Even my energetic kids had started finding anywhere they could to take a seat. So it was time to call it a day. If any of you come to Vicksburg and have the time though, I highly recommend this museum. Just go downtown towards the waterfront and you can’t miss it. It’s the only huge tug boat sitting on dry land in a spot that you can see blocks away.
It doesn’t cost anything to go see it. My only warning is to use the restroom in the main building before going on the boat. If you get on there and have to use the bathroom, seeing the, now nonworking, ones on the boat doesn’t help your situation.
It is a very interesting place to visit. There is plenty for the kids to do. I haven’t seen that a lot in other museums. We do have a lot of Museums in Vicksburg. If you want to make a weekend of it, there is plenty to do. We also have the Cairo exhibit. It is an ironclad civil war battleship. You can explore it. If you don’t like boats, we also have very interesting civil war battlefields you could explore, or you could go see the museum where Coca-Cola was first bottled at the Beidenhorn Candy Company.