Past queens celebrate at the Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras Museum’s grand opening gala Nov. 14. From left, Randi Mueller, Kate Rushton, Eileen Mahoney Ezell, and Susan Cain.
With the Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras Museum established in its new home, the good times continue to roll in downtown Biloxi.
Formerly located in the Magnolia Hotel building, the museum has moved to 792 Howard Ave. A grand opening celebration recently ushered in a new era for the local landmark.
“One of the most satisfying parts of my job is talking with people who have little or no knowledge of the history or significance of Mardi Gras and explaining the holiday’s connection to Easter and Lent and the culture of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a whole,” says Tammy Smith, the museum’s executive director. “It’s a party for the people and a cherished tradition.”
Formerly called the Mardi Gras Museum, the renamed museum reopened with an expanded name “to reflect our continuing goal of representing all of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Carnival celebration.”
“You’ll see that goal in our exhibits,” she adds, “which include (items from the) Gulf Coast Carnival Association, as well as Neptune, Billikins, Les Masquees, Revelers and others.”
The museum is meant to be an immersive experience, with guests invited to take selfies in king and queen thrones or watch a movie featuring locals whose names are synonymous with Mardi Gras. Kids can play dress up in a costume corner, and art lovers will appreciate an abstract mural, by Teri Gandour, created using damaged or unknown costumes.
Another mural outside, by artist Kate Rushton, lets visitors of any size wear a royal mantle — making for a perfect photo opportunity. So far, visitors from as far afield as Indiana, Berlin and Quebec have received the museum warmly.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and closed major holidays. General admission is $8, $7 for seniors (over 60), $7 for military (with ID) and $5 for students (12 and under).