This week, the Mississippi Museum of Art wraps up its “Old Masters to Monet” exhibition, which features 50 masterpieces from the likes of Cezanne, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh, all from the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. But nestled in the historic district of Laurel, Miss., is a museum, which boasts a very impressive permanent collection of its own.
The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art opened in 1923 as a memorial to Lauren Eastman Rogers, the only son and only grandson of one of the town's founding families. Lauren had died in 1921 from complications of appendicitis at the age of 23. After his death, Lauren’s father, Wallace Brown Rogers, and his grandfather, Lauren Chase Eastman, created the Eastman Memorial Foundation to promote the public welfare by founding, endowing and maintaining a public library, museum, art gallery and educational institution within the state.
Located on a broad, tree-lined avenue among turn-of-the-century homes near the center of town, the Lauren Rogers Museum is a Georgian Revival with large, double-hung sash windows and a brick and limestone exterior. The museum sits on the site where Lauren was building a home for his new bride.
Over 32,000 visitors each year can attest to the fact that the museum’s art collection inside is just as stellar as its exterior architecture. Visitors can view influential European works from the 17th-20th centuries, American paintings and sculptures from the 19th–20th centuries, over 500 Native American baskets, Japanese block prints from the 17th – 19th centuries and an array of British Georgian silver luxury goods.
The museum also has an extensive art and local history library with over 10,000 volumes. And since 2001, the museum’s North Garden has been home to changing exhibitions of sculptures.
The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. Admission is free but a $3 donation per adult is accepted. Learn more at lrma.org.