Fifth Ave. at 7th St., Laurel, Mississippi
The emphasis here is on 19th- and 20th-century painting, and this museum houses one of the most outstanding collections in the South. Seven elegant galleries invite one to linger with masterpieces by James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and Mary Cassatt, among other notable artists. There is a rich collection of landscape paintings, from dramatic renderings of the American wilderness by Albert Bierstadt to Thomas Moran’s grandiose sunset scene and the moody impressionism of George Inness’s later works.
The museum also contains an excellent exhibit of Georgian silver. Highlights include a 1785 George III teapot by Hester Bateman, one of the few female silversmiths of her time; William Plummer’s celebrated cake baskets; and plates by Paul Lamerie, acclaimed in the early 1700s as the finest of England’s craftsmen of silver and gold.
Another of the museum’s displays provides insight into the subtle relationship between art and archaeology. The Catherine Marshall Gardiner Native American Basket Collection features such superb craftsmanship that one set of miniature baskets is displayed under a magnifying glass.
The Georgian Revival building, with its golden oak hallways and elaborate ironwork, is itself an elegant tribute to the architecture of the Old South.
Open Tues.–Sat. and P.M. Sun. year-round. Closed major holidays.