MDAH Celebrates Holidays with Tour, Events

Get into the festive spirit this holiday season with live seasonal music, Christmas trees, antique toys, model trains, and other free, fun, family programming at the museums and sites of the Department of Archives and History.

On Friday, December 7, the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Mississippi State Capitol, Old Capitol Museum, Eudora Welty House, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building will be decorated for the seventeenth 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, Madison-Ridgeland Young Singers at 7, and the Hinds Community College Brass Ensemble at 7:45.

The grand Mississippi State Capitol will be decorated with six Mississippi-grown Leyland Cypress Christmas trees, garlands, and poinsettias. Musical entertainment will be the Christmas Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Bob Davidson, director of Senate Legislative Services.

The circa-1841 Mississippi Governor’s Mansion will be decorated with seasonal greenery. The East Garden will be open, and a very special guest from the North Pole will greet visitors in the garden’s gazebo. Light refreshments will be served.

New to the Candlelight Tour this year is the Eudora Welty House. Their “Powderhouse” holiday party is a nod to Welty’s short story “Powerhouse,” inspired by the Fats Waller concert Eudora Welty saw in Jackson, and the powdered sugar used in the Welty family’s fruitcake recipe. Jazz and blues musician Jesse Robinson will perform, and fruitcake made from Welty’s recipe will be served.

Exhibits in the Winter Building highlight vintage toys and Christmas trees decorated as they would have been in different eras, including Antebellum, Victorian, Depression, and mid-century. The ever-popular model town of Possum Ridge and its trains will also be on display on the first floor of the Winter Building. At 5:30, 6:45, and 8 p.m., characters from A Special Visitor Comes to Possum Ridge will read from the children’s book inspired by the train exhibit. There will be musical performances by the First Presbyterian Day School 5th Grade Choir at 4:45, the Bon Amis at 6, and the Millsaps College, Mu Phi Epsilon Chapter Carolers at 7:15.

For more information about the Candlelight Tour call 601-576-6800.

The trains of Possum Ridge and the Christmas tree and toy displays at the Winter Building will remain in place from December 4 through 21. Hours are Mondays 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 4–21, 9 a.m.–noon. For information call 601-576-6800.

On December 6, 13, and 20 at 10 and 11 a.m., the Old Capitol Museum will present “Telling Tales,” a series for elementary school-age children that features stories and a take-away craft. WAPT’s Stephanie Maxwell will kick off the series with readings on December 6.

Carols and other holiday songs will fill the Old Capitol rotunda for “Sounds of the Season.” Woodville Heights Elementary will perform on December 7, Wells United Methodist Church on December 8, Port Gibson Middle School on December 14, and John Hopkins Elementary School Youth Choir on December 15. All groups will begin at noon. For more information about events at the Old Capitol, call 601-576-6920 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 4 to 21. 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 Tuesday, December 25, through Wednesday, 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.

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 4 to 31. An open house showcasing the trees will be held Saturday, December 15, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. For more information call 601-442-2901 or email

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