Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Mansion History

Tour Information

Facility Use

Docent Program

Period Furnishings

Floorplans

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Besides tours for the public (see Tour Information), how is the historic section of the Governor's Mansion used?

The Governor's Mansion is a historic structure and the official residence of the governor, whose private living quarters adjoin the historic section. The first floor of the historic section is used for official state dinners and other special events hosted by the governor. On rare occasions, official guests of the governor are permitted to spend the night in one of the second-floor historic bedrooms. Non-historic, modern bedrooms are also available for official guests of the governor.

The historic section and the grounds of the Governor's Mansion are sometimes used for receptions or special events hosted by educational, historical, or other non-profit organizations. The Mansion and grounds are not available to private individuals acting on their own. The Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History has statutory authority and the responsibility to establish guidelines for public access and organizational use of the Mansion in order to protect and preserve the historic structure and the historic furnishings. For a copy of the Governor's Mansion facility use guidelines and fee schedule, see the "Facility Use" section. All inquiries regarding facility use of the historic section and/or grounds of the Governor's Mansion should be directed to the Mansion administrator at 601/359-3175.

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Where do the governor and first family eat and sleep?

As part of the 1972-1975 restoration and renovation of the Mansion, the family annex, built in 1908-1909 and condemned as unsafe in 1971, was demolished. In its place, a 1975 two-story annex was added to the rear of the historic section, providing office space and personal living quarters for the governor and first family.

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Will I see the governor on a tour of the Governor's Mansion?

Probably not. Only the historic section of the Mansion is open for touring by the public; the governor and first family's personal living quarters and office space are not available for touring by the public. The governor actually has three offices: one in the Governor's Mansion, one in the State Capitol, and one in the Sillers state office building. The governor's schedule is not provided to the volunteer docents who give tours of the historic section to the public.

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Why are the Mansion grounds not open to the public?

For security reasons, it is not possible to open the Mansion grounds for touring by the public.

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Why is photography not permitted inside the Mansion during tours?

Many museums and historic houses have adopted a no-photography policy for artifact preservation, copyright protection, and security reasons. Also, photography of any form is often distracting and interferes with other visitors' enjoyment of the tour. After a tour, visitors are given a brochure about the Governor's Mansion, which has a color photograph of each of the historic section rooms.

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Is the furniture original to the Mansion?

The furniture in the historic section of the Governor's Mansion dates from the nineteenth century, but the majority of it is not original to the Mansion. The legislature appropriated some funds for furniture and furnishings for the 1842 Mansion. However, governors residing in the Mansion in this early period often referred to the lack of furnishings in the executive residence. During the Civil War, the state capital was relocated from Jackson to Enterprise, Macon, Columbus, and then back to Macon. Furniture from the Mansion was sent to Macon to be stored. After the war was over, in October 1865, Governor Benjamin Humphreys was authorized by the legislature to appoint a person to retrieve the Mansion furniture from Macon. The Mansion furniture, however, had apparently been either stolen or destroyed and could not be found.

During the 1972-1975 restoration of the Mansion, existing Mansion furniture was assessed, and those pieces with a documented association with past governors were retained. Edward Vason Jones, architect and interior designer and consultant to the White House, was hired to select and acquire appropriate furniture and furnishings for the Mansion. He decided upon the Empire period as the predominant style suitable for the 1842 Greek Revival-style Mansion. The majority of furniture and furnishings, especially on the first floor, are Empire-style pieces chosen and purchased for the Governor's Mansion by Jones. Selected pieces in the French Restauration, Rococo Revival, and Renaissance Revival styles were also acquired for the Mansion. From 1980 to 1983, William Seale, noted historical consultant, provided guidance on the acquisition of furniture and furnishings, particularly for the second floor of the Governor's Mansion.

Furniture that was probably in the Mansion during the term of nineteenth-century governors includes:

  • The c.1850 étagère in the Gold Bedroom, which belonged to the family of Governor William McWillie and was probably used in one of the Mansion's double parlors when William McWillie served as governor, 1857-1859. Étagère is a French term for a whatnot, a piece of furniture with open decorative shelves for displaying small objects.

  • The c.1850 sofa in the Gold Bedroom, which belonged to the family of Governor Benjamin Humphreys and was probably used in the Mansion when Benjamin Humphreys served as governor, 1865-1868.

  • The Mansion also has a c.1850 parlor suite that belonged to the family of Governor Tilghman Tucker, the first governor to live in the Mansion, 1842-1844. The parlor suite consisting of a sofa, two armchairs, and three side chairs is in the Green Bedroom. The c.1850 date of manufacture of this parlor suite means that it was not in use in the Mansion during Governor Tucker's 1842-1844 term of office.

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Are the carpets old?

The carpets and rugs in the Governor's Mansion are not antiques. Instead, they are reproductions made from documented nineteenth-century patterns of a style appropriate for use in the Mansion.

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Are the curtains old?

The majority of curtains in the Governor's Mansion are not antiques. Exceptions to this are the cotton chintz valances in the Pumpkin Bedroom and the painted velvet valances in the Cream Bedroom, both of which date from the nineteenth century. All other curtains are reproductions made from documented nineteenth-century patterns of a style appropriate for use in the Mansion.

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Are the chandeliers old?

The chandeliers are all from the nineteenth century. Most of them were chosen and purchased for the Governor's Mansion by Edward Vason Jones during the 1972-1975 restoration of the Mansion. In the early to middle nineteenth century, chandeliers and lamps burned candle, oil, or gas. Any nineteenth-century chandeliers and lamps used at the Mansion have been electrified for safe use in the historic section.

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Mississippi Department of Archives and History.