Manship House Museum
Manship House Museum Closes for Restoration
The Manship House Museum closed July 1, 2010 to prepare for a nearly half-million-dollar repair of the building's foundation. The floor of the circa-1857 house is thirteen inches out of level, resulting in huge cracks in the plaster walls and gaps at doors and windows throughout the house. A timeline for the project will not be available until construction documents are finalized, but the site could be closed for eighteen months.
Charles Henry Manship, Civil War mayor of Jackson, was born in Maryland, where he apprenticed to a chairmaker and trained as an ornamental painter. Attracted to Jackson in the 1830s by its building boom, he advertised his services as a painter and found work on the construction of the State House, now known as the Old Capitol. Soon he opened a shop of his own, where he sold paints and fine wallpaper.
During Manship's long career as an ornamental painter, he also held several public offices; in 1857, at the age of forty-five, he built his Gothic Revival "cottage villa," a home in striking contrast to the Greek Revival mansions for which the South was famed. The unpretentious but commodious house was built to accommodate Charles and Adaline Daley Manship’s large family of fifteen children. Ten of those children lived to celebrate their parents' golden wedding anniversary at the Manship House in 1888.
What You Will See
The Manship House was built on a four-acre lot in a sparsely settled area of Jackson when it was a city of about 3,000. Although the city has grown up around the house, it stands in its original setting of native trees and shrubs, some of which may have been planted by Manship himself.
One of the few examples of Gothic-Revival residential architecture in Mississippi, the Manship House was inspired by a design in A.J. Downing's Architecture of Country Houses, a popular nineteenth-century pattern book in which an almost identical house is pictured. Manship adapted the plan to a southern climate by adding floor-to-ceiling windows and a central hall for ventilation.
The house is painted its original olive drab and cream colors, discovered under many coats of paint, and the original shingled roof has been authentically reproduced. Inside are a parlor, a sitting room, a dining room, three bedrooms, and—a convenience unusual to the region—a bathing room.
Abundant examples to Charles Henry Manship's decorative painting and wood graining survive in the house and have been restored by a master craftsman. The dining room appears to be paneled in oak, an effect Manship achieved by graining from floor to ceiling. Original wallpaper patterns, hidden under twentieth-century wallpaper and paint layers, were carefully reproduced and hung. Some of the furniture and objects are original to the house. The rest of the furnishings are representative of a middle-class southern home in 1888, the year to which the house has been restored.
The Manship House Museum interprets the daily life of an interesting nineteenth-century Mississippi family through the house the family lived in for so many years. Until its acquisition by the state of Mississippi in 1975, the Manship House had been continuously occupied by members of the Manship family since its construction in 1857.
The restoration of the Manship House by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History is based on archaeological, architectural, and historical research. Excavations on the site determined structural details and located the foundation of a kitchen outbuilding. Photographs, diaries, letters, contemporary newspapers, and recollections of family members supplied information on interior details.
For more information call 601-961-4724.
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