Each month will bring a new exhibit at this museum in an undisclosed location visitors have to find on their own in downtown Hattiesburg.

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Credit: Courtesy VisitHATTIESBURG

Located in southeastern Mississippi, Hattiesburg is definitely one of the cities you want to put on your radar for when the time is right to travel again. In the coming months, the city of some 46,000 residents is expanding their East Sixth Street Museum District, the city's African American cultural hub, as well as unrolling an expanded public art initiative.

Now, they're bringing to life an entirely innovative concept fit for this strange, socially distanced era, and are at the ready to bring people some much-needed diversion and connection to art and fun: Meet the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum. Situated in an unassuming alley in downtown Hattiesburg—the exact location is undisclosed to encourage people to hunt through the city streets for it (look for miniature collectibles in the alleyway around it as your clue)—the museum features a new exhibit of tiny ephemera each month that you can view through a window in what was formerly a boarded-up hole in a back storeroom. Previously, the Pocket Museum has displayed a collection of Swiss Army knives and mini rubber ducks. In honor of Halloween this month, they've shifted to a spine-chilling exhibit titled "Tools of the Trade: Serial Killer."

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Credit: Courtesy VisitHATTIESBURG

So how'd they dream of this outside-the-box inside-the-boarded-up storeroom idea? “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we, like many destinations, shifted focus to highlight socially distanced, family-friendly outdoor attractions. That’s when the Hattiesburg Convention Commission devised the idea for The Pocket Museum," explains Marlo Dorsey, Executive Director VisitHATTIESBURG via email to Southern Living. "Located in a formerly boarded-up hole in a back storeroom, The Pocket Museum turned a lackluster alley into an interactive art exhibit. Organizers created Milo, the cute, furry mouse who is the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum’s curator, adding to the whimsy and spontaneous nature of this museum," Dorsey continued, noting that enhancing outdoor public spaces will be a continued effort for the city.

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Credit: Courtesy VisitHATTIESBURG

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What a clever and creative idea the people of Hattiesburg have pulled off with the Pocket Museum. We're definitely keeping this one in our own back pockets for our hometowns, too.