Holiday Happenings at MDAH Sites Statewide

Make the most of the holiday season with live seasonal music, Christmas tree displays, model trains, and other free, fun, family programming at the historic sites and museums of the Department of Archives and History.

On Friday, December 2, the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, state capitol, Old Capitol Museum, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building will be decorated for the sixteenth annual Old Jackson Christmas by Candlelight Tour. Free transportation will take visitors from site to site, with parking available at the Old Capitol, state capitol, and Winter Building for those who prefer to drive their own vehicles. The Candlelight Tour begins at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 8:30.

The Old Capitol, Jackson’s oldest building, will be decked with greenery in the style used in 1840 when local women prepared the building for a visit by Andrew Jackson. Garlands will hang around the rotunda railing on the second floor and the stairwells, and wreaths will decorate the exterior of the building. Enjoy cookies and punch while listening to musical groups from across the city. Performing will be the Jim Hill High School choir at 4:45, the Mississippi Boychoir at 5:30, the Mississippi Girlchoir at 6:15, Galloway Concordia Ensemble at 7, and the Hinds Community College Brass Ensemble at 7:45.

The grand Mississippi State Capitol will be decorated with seven Mississippi-grown Leyland cypress Christmas trees, garlands, and poinsettias. The schedule of musical entertainment for the Candlelight Tour at the capitol will be Voices of Madison Avenue, Madison Avenue Upper Elementary at 4:45;  Vision United Ministries Mass Choir at 5:30; Mustard Seed Bells of Faith at 6:15;  Christmas Jazz at Sunset featuring Dan Colbert and Bob Davidson at 7; and the Port Gibson High School Choir at 7:45.

This year’s holiday theme at the circa-1841 Mississippi Governor’s Mansion will recall the Mississippi Delta with wreaths on the windows and doors, indoor seasonal greenery, and an elegant Christmas tree in the Front Rose Parlor. Visitors will also enjoy live piano music and holiday-themed snacks.

Joining the displays of Antebellum, Victorian, and Depression-era Christmas scenes in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building this year is a case representing the 1950s and ’60s with an aluminum Christmas tree featuring glass ball ornaments and a plastic Santa Claus, surrounded by a stuffed teddy bear, a Skipper doll similar to a Barbie doll, a Fisher Price Pull-A-Tune Xylophone and Mallet, the Little Golden Book Three Little Kittens, a toy radio station, and a Fisher Price School Bus. The ever-popular model town of Possum Ridge and its trains will also be on display on the first floor of the Winter Building. Characters from A Special Visitor Comes to Possum Ridge will read from the children’s book inspired by the train exhibit. For more information about the Candlelight Tour call 601-576-6800.

As part of its Food For Thought program, which aims to teach that being a good citizen means taking an active role in improving our own communities, the Old Capitol Museum is inviting visitors to donate books and non-perishable food items throughout December. Food collected through the program will go to Jackson’s Operation Shoestring, children’s books will be distributed to Mississippi preschools and daycares, and other books will be sent to the Mississippi Library Commission.

On December 2, 9, and 16 at 3:30 p.m., the Old Capitol Museum will present “Telling Tales,” a series for elementary-school-age children that features stories and craft activities. Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Ed Said will kick off the series with a reading on December 2.

Carols and other holiday songs will fill the Old Capitol rotunda for “Sounds of the Season.” The Hinds Community College Choir will perform on December 2, Mustard Seed’s Bells of Faith on December 10, Wells Memorial United Methodist Church on December 16, and Scotland Baptist Church Ensemble of Yazoo City on December 17. All groups will begin at noon. For more information about events at the Old Capitol, call 601-576-6800 or email

The historic section of the governor’s mansion will showcase traditional holiday decorations using seasonal greenery for Christmas at the Governor’s Mansion from December 2 to 20. Guided tours are offered Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 to 11 a.m. on the half-hour. The tours are free of charge, but advance reservations are required for groups of ten or more. The mansion will be closed for tours from Wednesday, December 21, through Monday, January 2, and may be closed at other times for official state functions. For more information about events at the governor’s mansion or to make a tour reservation, call 601-359-6421.

From December 5 through 22, trains will again run through the model town of Possum Ridge on the first floor of the William F. Winter Archives and History Building at the corner of North and Amite streets in Jackson. As a part of Winter Holidays, historic Christmas trees and toys will be on display Monday, noon–4:30 p.m., Tuesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Tours for school groups are available by reservation Tuesday–Friday, December 6–16, 9 a.m.–noon. For information call 601-576-6800.

Outside Greenville, Winterville Mounds will hold its Christmas open house inside the museum on Sunday, December 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local choirs will perform holiday music, and refreshments will be served. For more information call 662-334-4684 or email

In southwest Mississippi, Historic Jefferson College will again have its Celebration of Christmas Trees. Trees are brought into the first-floor classroom of the historic West Wing building. Classes from area schools decorate the trees with ornaments they have made and learn the story of Jefferson College during the Territorial period. Last year more than four hundred young people participated. The Celebration of Christmas Trees will run from December 12 to 31. An open house showcasing the trees will be held Saturday, December 17, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Children are invited to make holiday decorations at the Historic Jefferson College workshop “EXPLORE! Christmas Ornaments” on Thursday, December 22, 10–11:30 a.m. (ages 6–8) and 2–3:30 p.m. (ages 9–12). Parents and grandparents are always welcome to stay and learn. $10 pre-registration is required. For more information call 601-442-2901 or email

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