Off-the-Beaten-Path: Explore an Eclectic Group of Museums on the Mississippi State University Campus

It isn’t unusual to find a museum or two on a university campus.

However, it is uncommon to find an eclectic group of museums housed in one place on campus.


The Mitchell Memorial Library at Mississippi State University in Starkville is home to four such galleries.

On the third floor is the John Grisham Room, honoring one of MSU’s famous alumnus.

The collection highlights Grisham’s time in the state legislature and as a published author. On display includes manuscripts, letters, photographs, research materials and much more.

For fans of Grisham’s, this is a must-see, especially for the leather-bound editions of his first nine novels, provided by Doubleday Publishing and a collection of international editions.

Monday — Friday, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.

The Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Music Museum, on the fourth floor, provides an in-depth look at ragtime music and its influence on a changing American society. Templeton, a local businessman, amassed an extensive collection of musical instruments, recordings and sheet music from 1895 to 1930 that he referred to as “The Business of Music.”

Among the many pieces exhibited is Link Automatic Piano (ca. 1910) that plays a continuous role of 15 ragtime tunes, various music boxes from around the world and the Berliner Gramophone (ca. 1895), among other items from the Victor Talking Machine Company.

The museum and library system also sponsors the yearly Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival.

Monday — Friday, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. Self-guided, or you can register online for a guided tour.

Mississippi State is one of six universities across the country that houses a presidential library.


On the fourth floor of Mitchell Memorial Library, the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library highlights the life and times of the 18th U.S. president through static and interactive exhibits. The collection focuses on Grant as a president and a cadet, a general, and an elder statesman.

Monday -Friday, 7:30 a.m. — 5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. Check website for exceptions.

Adjacent to the library is The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana. Recognized as the nation’s largest and most comprehensive privately owned Lincoln materials and Civil War library, the collection features rare memorabilia and artifacts, signed documents and other items.

The over 100 pieces highlight the country’s 16th president’s life as a lawyer, a public official, a husband and father, and a politician.

Monday -Friday, 7:30 a.m. — 5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. Check website for exceptions.

Before You Go

Be sure to get a guest parking permit from MSU. Parking and Transit Services, or check out Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit (S.M.A.R.T), which stops at Mitchell Memorial Library Monday-Friday on the Central Loop route.

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