Exhibition & Events
EVENT - FREE ADMISSION
Maker Faire Meridian
Who are Makers? Tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and entrepreneurs are all considered Makers. Maker Faires give Makers the opportunity to come together to show their projects and to talk about what they have learned. This community-based learning event inspires everyone to become a Maker, and connect with people and projects in their local community. Yet, Maker Faire is a “fair” — fun, engaging, and exciting.
We invite local youth organizations to join in the fun at the Meridian Mini Maker Faire. The Boy Scouts have participated in the event for the past two years. Some of the nationally organized groups that have participated at Maker Faires around the world include 4-H, FIRST Robotics, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA and YWCA.
Schools, especially those with educational programs in Engineering, Art, Science and Crafts from pre-K to college, should consider showing what they are learning and creating in school.By participating in the Meridian Mini Maker Faire local artists, community art centers and art collectives can inspire creativity and create public awareness to their programs. From Origami to watercolors, Makers share their art with visitors at Maker Faires hosted around the world.Other groups such as master gardening programs, bee clubs, and urban greening groups enjoy sharing what they are doing and learning. Drone racing leagues, LEGO user groups, amateur aviation groups, amateur radio clubs, Audubon and bird-watching groups are just a few of the many interests that find their way to a Maker Faire.
Celebrate the American Industrial Revolution: WORK
Come Experience Historic Soulé Steam Feed Works as the museum celebrates America’s Industrial Revolution. The exhibit, created in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution Museums on Main Street program, is a key component of this celebration and illustrates the American workers’ contribution in making the country an economic and industrial giant. Industrial heritage exhibits throughout the museum celebrate the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Meridian, a community that thrived in spite of Sherman’s destructive campaign that destroyed the city on February 14, 1864.
Step back in time and experience how people worked in the early 20th century. Soulé Steam Feed Works is the last remaining steam engine factory in the United States and offers a glimpse at how hard people worked. Visit the 1907 belt-driven machine shop that looks much as it did prior to World War II. The foundry, complete with cupola furnace, core-making department and pattern shop. The Soulé office contains most of the original furnishings dating from the 1930s. The indoor forge provided the blacksmith with a modern means of forging iron into shapes needed at the factory. Learn about the Foundrymen, Pattern-Makers, Journeyman Machinists, and other workers that built the products sold around the world.
Discover how inventor and industrialist George W. Soulé and other talented individuals contributed to the development of industry in Meridian and the Deep South. See examples of Soulé steam engines, patents and other products he designed and manufactured. Learn what natural resources from the Meridian area were used to build the great industrial cities of the northern United States. See examples steam engines that powered industry during this period and learn how steam power was important in building the nation.
Do you know Rosie the Riveter’s connection to Meridian? Find out at the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum and listen to the original 1940s song.
Who created the first ethnic hair product manufacturer in the world? Visit the museum and see early examples of these products.
See the most complex machine ever designed and built in the late 1800s and find out the revolution it caused in publishing at the letterpress print shop.
Two examples of the world’s only manufactured and successfully marketed rotary steam engine are on display at the museum.
Did you know that many child labor issues in the South were resolved in Meridian. Find out more at the museum.
What company town near Meridian became known at the “brightest town south of St. Louis”?
What Meridian business became the basis of one of the largest educational foundations in Mississippi?
Soulé Live Steam Festival
The founders of the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum and Soulé Live Steam Festival, believe that preserving and interpreting America’s industrial heritage is very important. The Soulé company closed in 2002 and was purchased by a local businessman, Jim McRae. McRae desired to preserve this important part of history. Today, only three (out of five total) similar sites have been preserved and are open to the public. Soulé Steam Feed Works historic factory site tells the story of early 20th century invention, industry and workers like no other place in America. Here visitors can see the manufacturing process from raw material to finished product. More than 100 volunteers and steam-enthusiasts work to make this museum and event possible.
The Soulé factory buildings date to the turn-of-the-20th century. Most of the original equipment and fixtures still remain in place and are in operation during the festival. The 1907 machine shop still uses the original 106’-long, belt-driven drive shaft to power equipment. As you walk through the foundry—a state-of the-art industrial building when it was built in 1917—you’ll find the Paxson Cupola Furnace, which was fired by coke and produced tons of molten iron weekly. The Pattern Shop, housed on the second floor of the foundry, is complete with antique woodworking equipment. The foundry’s core-making department is another rare feature that survives.