The Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center: 5 Reasons to Visit Local Museums, Cultural Centers, and Tourist Sites
Just Chasing Rabbits February 10, 2016
While browsing the guidebook for my hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, I came across an entry for the Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center located right downtown.

Because this interpretive center would cover not only where we live now, but also the areas where both Mark and I grew up, and the entire area that we call “home,” I knew I needed to pay the center a visit to see just what kind of information it had to offer.

Brochures for the Mississippi Hills Region

The center focuses on significant people from North Mississippi, including Tupelo’s own Elvis Presley, of course.

Elvis Display at the Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center
Elvis window display at the Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center in downtown Tupelo.

Many people know that Elvis, Oprah, and William Faulkner were born in Mississippi, but because the Mississippi Hills focuses on just one region, I was able to learn way more about the people from this particular area, and was especially excited to learn that one of the fathers of the Blues, R.L. Burnside, was born in the town I grew up in, Harmontown, Mississippi! I had no idea anyone had ever heard of my little town before!

“As travelers, we often visit the museums, visitors centers, and cultural centers of other states, regions, and countries, but we need to visit our local ones as well.”

Imagine Nation Brochure: The Brochure of the Mississippi Hills Region
Imagine Nation: The brochure for the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area

I always thought the Blues came from the Mississippi Delta. As I read in the Imagine Nation brochure (pictured above), the Hill Country Blues originated in North Mississippi around the Holly Springs area, which is Mark’s hometown. I can’t believe we both grew up in an area famous for the Blues, and we had no idea! We have lived side-by-side with music legends and didn’t have a clue.

See Related: Taking the Elvis Tour of Tupelo, Mississippi

The Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center has definitely opened my eyes to this area and has made me want to learn more. This center should definitely be visited by tourists in the area, but I urge local Mississippians to check it out as well! 

Historic Icons of the Mississippi Hills Region
Historic Icons of the Mississippi Hills region.

As travelers, we like to visit the museums, visitors centers, and cultural centers of other states, regions, and countries, but we need to visit our local ones as well. What makes your hometown or region special? Have you ever wondered why tourists visit the area that you call home?

See Related: North Mississippi’s Seashells and Shark Teeth

We are often blinded to our home’s tourist appeal because the buildings, the streets, and the people are all normal to us. Visiting your local museums, cultural/history centers, or visitors center can help you see your hometown from a whole new perspective!

Check out these five reasons to visit your local Museums, Cultural Centers, and Tourist Sites, and you’ll feel like you’re seeing home with a new set of eyes and finding adventures in your own backyard!

5 Reasons to Visit Your Local Museums, Cultural Centers, and Tourist Sites

1. To Learn the History of Your Region
What is your hometown’s place in history?
You may find out that interesting events have happened nearby. Here, in North Mississippi, we are rich in Civil War history, Civil Rights history, and sites that are significant to American Indians and the birth of the Blues.

See Related: Johnnie’s Drive-In: Tupelo’s Oldest Restaurant

Do any significant buildings or sites exist in your area?
Visit the buildings and areas where history took place. Within 20 miles of my house, I can find the birthplace of Elvis Presley, the oldest restaurant in Tupelo, American Indian mounds, the Natchez Trace, and Civil War battlefields.

Significant Books and Authors of the Mississippi Hills Reagion
Significant books and authors of the Mississippi Hills.

2. To Learn about Significant People from Your Area
To be “famous” includes more than just movie stars and entertainers. Maybe a famous author, scientist, doctor, politician, or inventor is from your hometown. You may even find that you are related or have ties to one of these amazing people!

3. To See Your Home with the Eyes of a Tourist
As you learn about the history, culture, and people of your area, you can see your home with the eyes of a tourist. You begin to see why your home is special, and why people come to visit! Did you ever think you could find new things to do or see around your home? There’s usually some new adventure to be found right in your own backyard!

4. To Develop A Sense of Pride
By learning what makes your home unique and seeing just what it has to offer, you can feel immensely proud of your area! I know I have developed a pride for being from Mississippi, one that I didn’t have a few years ago. My area has so much to offer, and I really want people to come experience it for themselves!

Brochures for the Mississippi Hills region.

5. To Collect Informational Brochures and Magazines (for Yourself or to Share!)
Because of the new-found pride in your home, you may want to pick up some brochures and pamphlets to send to friends and family. Surely you’ll want to invite others to see your home. Go ahead, and show off! Be sure to hit all the great restaurants and historical/cultural sites.

BONUS: To Ask Questions!
Don’t forget that the employees at your nearby museums, tourism bureaus, and historical/cultural centers are basically experts about the local are! Use this opportunity to ask questions or get recommendations.

The Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center: 5 Reasons to Visit Local Museums, Cultural Centers, and Tourist Sites

You’d be surprised how much you can learn by striking up a conversation with someone who loves their home! Now, YOU can be that person!

Jenni at the Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center with Kayla McCarley
Jenni with Kayla McCarley of the Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center. See Kayla if you have any questions or need any information on North Mississippi!

I definitely want to thank Kayla McCarley at the Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center for talking with me about North Mississippi. Because of her and the information available at the cultural center, my interest in my home area has been sparked, and I am now researching more on the area that I grew up in!

Stop by the Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center in Tupelo, Mississippi to really understand the significance of our home here in North Mississippi(and tell them Jennifer from Just Chasing Rabbits sent you!)!

What have you learned by touring your hometown? Any tips for us? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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The Mississippi Hills Heritage and Cultural Center: 5 Reasons to Visit Local Museums, Cultural Centers, and Tourist Sites

 

Jennifer is the founder of Just Chasing Rabbits travel blog. She lives in Mississippi with husband/travel companion, Mark, and doggie-daughter, Gizmo. After obtaining a BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has combined her love of travel and photography to form this blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.
You can follow Jenni on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

 

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