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Discover Mississippi: Carousels at the...

Discover Mississippi: Carousels at the Agriculture Museum

By: Susan Marquez - June 11, 2024

  • Elaborate carousels, replete with carved and lacquered horses and other animals take you back in time.

When the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum opened in 1985, 22 exhibits were available to tour on the 39-acre property in the center of Jackson. One area that takes visitors back to a simpler time is its fictional Small Town, Mississippi. Reminiscent of a 1920’s town, the exhibit is complete with a general store, filling station, sawmill, blacksmith shop, doctors’ office and more. One of the ways people found entertainment was on elaborate carousels, replete with carved and lacquered horses and other animals.

By 1988, Small Town, Mississippi had its own carousel. Manufactured by the Allan-Hershell Company of North Tonawanda, New York, the 1928 carousel features cast aluminum galloping horses and sleigh-style seats, and a custom canvas top. The carousel house features painted scenery. Each of the animals on the carousel has a scene painted on the saddle. The carousel is retrofitted with 144 lights and 12 mirrors. The nostalgic carousel fits the overall theme of Small Town.

A larger carousel will now be added to the museum, thanks to a generous donation from Miskelly Furniture.

“The original carousel is great, but it’s best suited for small children,” says Justin Nipper, marketing and events specialist at the Ag Museum. “There is a height and weight limit. The new carousel can handle adult riders.”

The large antique carousel was acquired by Miskelly Furniture from a theme park in Argentina. Known as the “Caring Carousel,” it was located in a special wing of the store in Pearl. Customers paid $1 to ride the carousel, and the proceeds benefited many local charities, including Make-A-Wish Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and more.

“Over $200,000 was raised since Miskelly Furniture added it to their new building in 2004,” said Justin.

An announcement was made on October 19, 2020 that Miskelly Furniture was donating the carousel to the Ag Museum. Oscar Miskelly made the announcement with Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson and Hayes Patrick, Executive Director of the Mississippi Ag Museum on hand.

At the press conference, Commissioner Gipson said, “We are very excited to accept this unique donation on behalf of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. This attraction will make a great addition to the multiple exhibits we currently offer across the grounds of the Museum complex. I look forward to seeing the joy their generous donation brings to all the families that visit the museum.”

The carousel had to be disassembled at the furniture store and taken in pieces to the Ag Museum.

“Because it was October, the state fair was in town,” says Justin. “The same people to assemble the rides at the fair were dispatched to Miskelly’s to disassemble the carousel. That wasn’t a job for just anyone. It required someone who understood what they were dealing with.”

The carousel will be reassembled inside a new carousel house once one is built.

“The location has been determined,” says Justin. “It will be on the grounds of the Ag Museum near the Children’s Barnyard and Multipurpose Building.”

There is no time frame for the construction.

“The Ag Museum Foundation is working on raising funds for the carousel house.”

The Ag Museum is located at 1150 Lakeland Drive in Jackson. It is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm.

About the Author(s)
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Susan Marquez

Susan Marquez serves as Magnolia Tribune's Culture Editor. Since 2001, Susan Marquez has been writing about people, places, spaces, events, music, businesses, food, and travel. The things that make life interesting. A prolific writer, Susan has written over 3,000 pieces for a wide variety of publications.
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