Congratulations!! You found the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum…. The tiniest museum in Mississippi!

As featured in

This museum hosts collections of every sort and is meant to inspire, delight, and intrigue as you peer into our “cabinet of curiosities”!

We want you to become a part of our ever-changing museum! We accept collections of all types from the whimsical (perhaps, a collection of tiny felt mice) to the macabre (maybe, bejeweled skulls or bones).

To submit a collection for consideration to be exhibited, please read the following:

1.  The collection needs to be between 30-50 items. However, we will consider any unusual collection if it strikes our fancy!

2.  You must submit at least five photographs of your items. We will then determine if these would be a good fit for the museum and how we might display them. You may include details about items that would be of interest to the public in understanding your collection. 

3.  Items are on loan to the Museum (administered by the Hattiesburg Convention Commission) for 60 days. We commit to exhibiting them for a minimum of 30 days (except in February).

4.  Your collection will be returned to you upon removal at the end of your ‘month’, and when the next collection is ready for display.

5.  Although the museum is monitored by security cameras and installed behind special protective glass, the Museum is not responsible for loss or damage to your collection.

6.  By submitting your collection for consideration via email, you are agreeing to the instructions and terms contained herein should you be chosen to exhibit. 

7.  The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum reserves the right to present the museum and its contents in the manner that we desire.

8.  The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum reserves the right to change things that don’t work for us.

9.  The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum reserves the right to close loopholes on the spot.

10.  The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum reserves the right to improve our terms and agreements.

To inquire, submit, or otherwise comment, please email the Museum at pocket@hattiesburg.org.

April is earth month, so this month’s exhibit features a plant found and used in almost every culture throughout the world!

OH, MY GOURD! 

Gourds are one of the most widely used natural products on earth. As food, tools, toys, musical instruments, jewelry, furniture, dishes, utensils, and decoration, gourds have played a vital role in all societies. In the American South, you may recognize them as the birdhouses your grandmother put up for a wide range of birds including bluebirds, swallows, woodpeckers, purple martins and screech owls to name a few. 

In our exhibit, the gourds are home to rare, perhaps mythical creatures, the fairy! Fairies were a common feature of Renaissance literature and Romantic art that was derived from the folklore of many European cultures. These fairy houses and playgrounds are crafted from natural materials found in our own backyards such as vines, seed pods, and lichen! 

According to lore, fairies have the power to bring health, happiness and wield magic to make your garden grow! While fairies don’t like to be seen by humans, they do enjoy the sound of children’s laughter. Fairies will hide behind toadstools or a piece of moss and even mix with fireflies to watch children frolic in the yard at dusk; the sound of happy voices making their lights grow brighter. If you want to attract fairies to your garden, you must first provide them a beautiful home such as these and then they will dance among the flowers and protect your plants while you sleep. 

This exhibition is the artwork of a retired teacher who was raised in a family that had a love for nature, and a real gift for using GOURDS! Now, this artisan uses gourds to create enchanting homes for garden fairies. She decorates these dwellings with natural objects as well as family memorabilia to create “tiny worlds” where magic can really happen! 

Collection brought to you by: Anonymous Artisan from Hattiesburg, MS 


It’s International Women’s Month, so our March Exhibit features cultural accentuation of feminine beauty!

They say that March comes in like a Lion and out like a Lamb! How appropriate for International Women’s Month. Women can be both strong and soft, powerful and nurturing. This month, we celebrate women, beauty, and self-expression through body art across cultures. Asian, Western and Polynesian cultures prominently feature modification of the body to mark life’s changes, to express meaning, and for remembrance. 

Makeup (Western): The earliest record of makeup comes from the 1st Dynasty of Egypt (c. 3000 BCE). The women of Egypt decorated their eyes by applying dark green color to the underlid and blackening the lashes with soot. In more recent times, movies stars of the 40’s and 50’s created the trends in makeup (e.g., Audrey Hepburn’s deeply outlined “cat” eyes). The 60’s brought the hippies and with them came a liberated makeup look such as white lips and Egyptian-lined eyes. Today’s trends seem to have reverted to the more natural look with a blending of styles from the past. 

Mehndi (Asian): The art of applying henna on hands and feet is known as Mehndi and is an ancient art form of the Asian subcontinent. Henna (the green powder you see here) is actually ground leaves of the Henna plant. Staining oneself with turmeric paste, as well as mehndi, are ancient customs, intended to represent the outer and the inner sun and are said to “awaken the inner light”. Mehndi, in modern Indian tradition, is typically applied during Hindu weddings and is a temporary art form lasting between 1-4 weeks. 

Tattoos (Polynesian): Polynesian and Egyptian cultures embraced tattoos for women, where they were considered a sacred rite, and were status symbols. Tattoos in Victorian England became so popular that high society had tea parties that included tattooing! Victorian women hid their tattoos but thought of them as secret symbols of their struggle for equal rights. After the Victorian Era, tattooing declined in popularity even becoming illegal in some parts of the United States until the modern-day. Tattoos today have come to express a type of rebellious beauty and have been linked to a stronger sense of self-esteem. 

Can you find: A compact that gives you a hand? A beautiful purple earring? The Last Supper? 

Collection brought to you by: Tina LeBlanc (vintage compacts) and AuraJane (tattoo art) 


Our February 2021 Exhibit featured The Lost Art of the Love Letter

Close your eyes and imagine dating 75 years ago… 

Dating was not actually called “dating” it was called “courting” – which sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it? Now imagine not having a cell phone OR regular access to a telephone. So, couples exchanged letters to one another and sometimes would go days or weeks without contact. (That’s right…no Instagram!) 

Think of dating today. You send someone a text and might get angry or anxious if you don’t hear back from them within MINUTES. Imagine having to wait weeks or months to hear back from someone you love… 

In 1819, John Keats wrote a love letter to his neighbor declaring his love for her. He wrote ‘I cannot exist without you. I am forgetful of everything but seeing you again. My life seems to stop there – I see no further. You have absorb’d me.’ This is thought by many to be one of the best love letters of all time. 

In honor of love and the eloquent art of expression in ink, we present a collection of original love letters from the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Isn’t a handwritten letter much more romantic than a text? Taking time to share your feelings with pen and ink shows the love and commitment that a ❤ emoji can never express. 

This Valentine’s Day, take the Pocket Museum Challenge and write someone a love letter, put a stamp on it and send it in the mail. Who knows? 100 years from now it might find its way into a museum! 

Collection by: Mary Dryden and several incurable romantics 


While most of us consider laundry a chore, our January 2021 Exhibit features a clothesline that’s a work of art! 

Wash * Dry* Fold* Repeat 

Origami is derived from two Japanese words: Ori (folded) and Kami (paper). Before that, this art was called “Orikata(folded shapes). Initially, paper folding in Japan was only done for ceremonial occasions because paper was so expensive. 

Did you know that origami was often the gift given from one Samurai to another as a good luck token for all future dangers to be faced! Samurais presented gifts of ceremonial origami in very intricate shapes along with strips of dried fish or meat to signify “good wishes”. 

Speaking of gifts, it is a Japanese tradition for a newly married couple to be given the gift of “A Thousand Folded Cranes” by the bride’s father. It is said that if you are given a thousand cranes, you will be granted ONE special wish! 

How meaningful is a gift of Origami? Consider that the fastest time to make 100 origami cranes is 40 minutes 35 seconds, achieved by Yoneyama Yuichi in Nagoya, Japan, on November 30, 2010. That’s an average of 24.35 seconds per crane! 

Origami comes in all sizes and quantities. The smallest origami crane in the world measures 0.1mm by 0.1mm (that’s tiny even by our standards!). The largest number of origami cranes was created as part of the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. A total of 250,000 paper cranes were folded and displayed in a large memorial in the city. Each had a person’s name on it and a short, peaceful message. A paper crane is a symbol for world peace. 

We would like to thank the month’s contributors for such colorful “laundry”! 

Objects: various handmade Origami 

Collection brought to you by: Hattiesburg Junior Auxiliary Crown Club (high achieving 10th, 11th & 12th graders) 

Austin Wilson of Gautier, MS and Pa’shance Lee of Hattiesburg, MS 


The December 2020 exhibit brought out the detective in all of us….

I SPY: Christmas Edition 

I spy with my little eye, lots of toys, trinkets and pretty Christmas cheer! The game I Spy originated in Victorian England in the late 1800’s. It remains a common pastime played by children and adults alike, mostly during family gatherings or on long trips. One person secretly chooses an object that they can ‘spy with his/her little eye‘ and others take turns trying to guess what it is. 

The first mention of ‘I Spy‘ was in The Manchester (UK) Times, January 1889. This account explained the rules: 

“After the lantern, we had games of various kinds. One was called “I Spy.” To play it all the children sit round the room. One of the players chooses some object, which he must actually see, and then says, “I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with ‘P’ or whatever the first letter happens to be.” 

This month’s exhibit contains the tiny toy collection of musician, actress and artist, Abigail Lenz Allen. Since she was…well, tiny…she has collected hundreds of little toys. Abi’s collection requirements are that they must be tiny, odd and unique. What better exhibit for the season and your own game of “I SPY”. We hope you will search for the oddest or most unique toy in this collection. Perhaps, it will remind you of your favorite Christmas toy. 

Did you spy the golden angel who needs a hand? 

Did you spot the X-Wing pilot? 

Would you like a kitty stacked like a cake? 

Did you find the most incredible husband in the world? 

And…does Santa look a bit put out with all these crazy toys? 

Objects: various tiny, odd and unique toys 

Collection brought to you by: Abigail Lenz Allen (and a few elves


Our November 2020 exhibit is worth…a thousand words!

This month’s exhibit is a genre of art that we imagine you have never seen!

“Book Sculpting” artists use tiny tweezers, knives, picks and scalpels to dissect old books into beautiful new

sculptures revealing elements of the original you may never have noticed.
Perhaps this form of art proves the adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words!”
This Colorado artist spends dozens of hours on his creations and when he begins, does not know what will
ultimately be revealed. Each book speaks to the artist and every little slice and clip slowly tells the story
hidden in the pages. Our artist chooses vintage books which usually have interesting and unique pictures

between the bindings. By doing so, he gives new life to the book and its story!
In addition, the artist constructs one-of-a-kind “Steampunk” artifacts
to build a unique vignette to present these most unusual creations.
Enjoy a few minutes looking at what this exhibit reveals and see if you can find:

A queen and her crown?
The lunar lander?

And, finally, two kids wearing their masks?

Book Sculptures and Steampunk Artwork by: Shane Cooper, a full-time cybersecurity expert, part-time artist, and inveterate Jeep enthusiast based in Denver, Colorado.


The October collection…our spookiest exhibit yet!

 Our October “collection” features… 

Tools of the Trade: Serial Killer 

While the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum is usually all about fun and games, it’s October and we want to put a tingle in your spine! Peer inside our tiny museum and find the stuff that nightmares are made of. 

Serial Killers have been around since the beginning of time, but the first “modern” killer was “Jack the Ripper” who killed at least 5 women in London in 1888. Interestingly, this case launched a MASSIVE manhunt and investigation to which many modern day investigation techniques were pioneered. This watershed moment in the field of criminal investigation created a worldwide media frenzy. Because of the media coverage, “Jack the Ripper” spurred copycat killers and spawned many theories on his identity…though he was NEVER found! 

Since then, the public’s fascination with the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer have been the subject of television shows and podcasts. Movies such as Silence of the Lambs or Mr. Brooks have fascinated and terrified the public at the same time. Shows like Dexter and You have made us all too aware of the serial killer’s brilliantly twisted psyche…and the realization that you never really know someone! 

Would you start with the ice pick or the scalpel? 

Do you think the ubiquitous white van is too suspicious? 

If you were a serial killer, what “trophy” would you collect? 

Wait, did you hear that ??? 

We would love to talk more, but we are having an old friend for dinner… 

Collection by: Dexter Morgan, living somewhere in the Pacific Northwest 


 Our September 2020 exhibition was for the birds, well…ducks. Rubber ducks, that is!

September has been an exciting month for the Pocket Museum and for downtown Hattiesburg! We hosted the first Great Downtown Duck Hunt and everyone had a blast! Unfortunately, our alley cat (statue) named Charlie was murdered (broken)….so very sad….but we are so thankful to have many loyal followers and friends looking out for our special place now! Thank you to everyone that joined in making September a huge “ducking” success! See if you can spot our last ever photo of Charlie with all of his parts in our gallery above.

 Our September inDUCKtee into the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum is… 

The Rubber Duck! 

This beloved toy dates back to the mid-1800s when rubber manufacturing started. Many rubber animals were crafted, but the duck seemed to be the one toy that mothers found would coax their children into the weekly washtub. (During this time, the weekly bath was shared by all the family and kids were bathed last…when the water was at its murkiest.) 

The Rubber Duck caught a HUGE break on February 25, 1970 when Ernie from Sesame Street got into his tubby with nice, fluffy suds and belted out the tune, “Rubber Duckie(voiced by Mississippi’s own JIM HENSON)! This single not only sold 1 million copies, but topped #16 on the “Hot 100” charts and was nominated for a Grammy! 

Rubber Ducks have also played an important role in tracking ocean currents and the movement of accumulating plastics in the ocean. In 1992, a cargo ship accidently dropped 28,000 rubber ducks into the North Pacific. For years, these lost ducks found their way to Alaska, Hawaii, China, the Artic, and even Maine. While tragic, scientists learned valuable information on how “garbage patches” are formed in our oceans. 

Can you find the ‘duck-tor’ with a stethoscope? 

Did you spot the double yolk? 

Would you like one with a side of fries? 

Did you find all of today’s letters? 

Objects: various rubber ducks 

Collection brought to you by: the letters W, T & F and the number 2020 


 For the August 2020 exhibition, we present to you the ultimate “pocket” collection…. The Swiss Army Knife! 

The first Swiss Army knives were developed in the late 1880s and were not actually Swiss, they were made in Germany! (But only for a few short years until the Swiss landed the army contract!) 

The knives were used by the Swiss Army to open cans and repair rifles, thus, their multi-tool function. They became famous in the United States from GI’s bringing them home from WWII. 

There are currently over 100 models of this popular brand of knife all with different tools including screwdrivers, corkscrews, can openers, flashlights, ballpoint pens, and even a USB drive. These knives are so useful they have been carried by astronauts into space and been used to make “out of this world” repairs! 

Here, in the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, this collection features many of the limited edition knives that Victorinox has produced each year since 2010. 

Can you find the knife made of cheese? 

Did you spot the skateboard knife? 

Have you visited all the National Parks featured? 

Did you see William Tell? 

Objects: Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Knives  Collection of: Anonymous