Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on July 29, 2002. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
4-H museum caps off centennial party
JACKSON -- Mississippi is one step closer to having one of the nation's premier exhibitions of 4-H memorabilia and interactive programs after the July 20 groundbreaking for the Pete Frierson Mississippi 4-H Museum in Jackson.
Mississippi 4-Hers culminated their organization's year-long centennial celebration at the state's Agriculture and Forestry Museum with competitions, heritage activities and the museum groundbreaking. Mississippi has special claim in the founding of the national 4-H movement. Mississippi became the first state to receive federal money to support boys' and girls' demonstration clubs in 1907 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored clubs in Holmes County.
"There has been discussion about a 4-H museum for several years, but we couldn't decide on the best location. Mississippi State University and Holmes County had been considered for the site," said Hobson Waits, chairman of the 4-H Club Foundation of Mississippi. "Then as centennial plans were underway, Dr. Spell suggested locating it at the ag museum in Jackson. It seemed like the perfect place."
Dr. Lester Spell is commissioner of Mississippi's Department of Agriculture and Commerce. His department oversees the museum's buildings and grounds located on Lakeland Drive in Jackson.
"Mr. Pete Frierson has long been a leader in promoting 4-H in Mississippi by encouraging other business leaders to support the program," Waits said. "He and his family have embraced the idea of a museum that will help everyone understand how 4-H has served for a century as the foundation builder for future leaders."
Frierson, founder of Frierson Building Supply Co. in Jackson, has been most active as a supporter of the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions. A 4-H livestock project earned him a scholarship to the University of Florida in the 1930s. Frequently, Frierson has not simply purchased just any animal in the sale; he has purchased the top-selling steer.
"I feel very strongly about supporting these kids. I got my start in 4-H," Frierson said after purchasing the grand champion steer one year. "These kids work hard all year round to make it into the Sale of Champions with their animals. It's important for buyers to reward their responsibility and hard work."
Frierson and his family were present for the groundbreaking of the 4-H museum that will contain 2,000-square foot of floor area. The building will blend with the agrarian style of the complex, which is visited by more than 125,000 people annually.
Susan Holder, state 4-H leader with MSU's Extension Service, said the museum will be much more than an exhibit hall of old photographs and project books.
"Visitors will be able to see how 4-H has evolved over the years from the corn clubs for boys and tomato clubs for girls in the early 1900s. Today, the majority of our 4-Hers are on track with leadership projects and skill development activities," Holder said. "The museum will provide more than objects to look at; we plan to have interactive displays that will involve visitors in 4-H's rich history."
Mississippi's 4-H offers 40 different subjects to choose from, ranging from cattle to computers, from health to hogs, from economics to the environment. Each subject has many different categories, and each category has different projects for youth to complete. For more information on Mississippi 4-H, contact the local county Extension office.