The history of maritime endeavors along the Mississippi and the people who made their living in the Gulf Area has been shaped by many factors. these include the transport of goods, people and without a doubt the seafood industry which has been central to the lives of those who call the area for generations.
The excitement of the past and the people who have sculpted the Gulf Coast are vividly brought to life at the Mississippi Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum.
Housed in a modern and striking glass building are some of the treasured mementos that give visitors some idea of why the area around Biloxi Mississippi was once called ‘The Seafood Capital of the World. The museum, which can be found at Point Cadet is a firm favorite with both locals and visitors to the area. In fact is was voted ‘People’s Choice’ in the museum category.
This salute to the past – and a glimpse into the present is a delight for both young and old and provides that perfect mixture of what a museum should be – both an educational icon and a place that stirs the heart and soul. Bringing the past to life are numerous exhibits that delight the senses and impart a sense of very real history.
What this museum does incredibly well is to highlight just how tough life was in the early days of the fishing industry of the area. those visiting will be left with an indelible memory and a knowledge about the men, women and ships that transformed the Mississippi Gulf Coast into the modern seafood capital that it still is – a tribute to the efforts of those who plied its waterways all those generations ago.
One of the highlights of any visit is without doubt The Nydia, a Gaff Rig Cabin ship that was built in the 1800’s. This is no model – this is a real representation of the skills of the boat builders of that age. The fact that it has survived, albeit with some restoration is testament to the boat builders skills that go as far as historic California event venues.
Although The Nydia is without doubt the jewel in the crown of this amazing museum, there is plenty more to see. in depth examinations of just how challenging boat building was in the early days and how how commercial fishing became the lifeblood of communities in the region provide a fascinating insight into the past.
As interesting are the examples of machines that revolutionized how the fishing industry provided seafood that was consumed across the United States. These include a shrimp processing machine that in its day could process up to 100 shrimp – not in a day, but in a mere hour. There are also examples of machines that were used to process oysters to satisfy an ever increasing demand across the country.
Perhaps some of the most awe inspiring exhibits provide information about the devastation that Hurricanes have caused the area. These exhibits show not only the material costs of these natural disasters but also the very human suffering that they have caused over the years from the Mississippi to the Illinois River.
Visitors might be startled to hear the sounds of mechanized whistles as they tour the exhibits – these were part and parcel of factory life in the past. they were used to signal factory workers that ships had come in to the harbor and that the days work was about to commence.
this is a museum experience that should not be missed. Even those whose interest in seafood might perhaps only be limited to cuisine will find the insights provided fascinating.