Construction Project at Governor’s Mansion

govmanse_workerThe Mississippi Governor’s Mansion is in the midst of a project to help preserve the century-and-a-half-old building and its fine art, antique furniture, and historic furnishings. A fire suppression system and new heating and cooling system are being installed to protect the Mississippi Landmark structure and its contents from damages by fluctuations in humidity and temperature.

Work began in January in areas used only by staff, but the regular public tours of the historic building will be suspended April through August as construction moves to those sections.

“This work is not glamorous, but it is necessary for the preservation of the mansion and its furnishings,” said Lauren Miller, mansion curator. “We regret that we won’t be able to offer tours in the spring and summer, but this work will maintain the mansion for generations to come.”

The existing HVAC system is forty years old and inefficient by modern standards, and the new equipment is projected to cost less to operate. The complete replacement will include the installation of new ductwork and registers.

Visitors are unlikely to notice many changes to the mansion. The fire suppression system boasts a low profile, with only the sprinkler heads being visible in the ceiling.

The majority of the mansion’s furniture was constructed in the Empire style, with some French Restauration, Rococo Revival, and Renaissance Revival pieces. All furniture and furnishings will be packed securely and stored off site. Furniture conservator Richard Branyan, owner of Lower Lodge Conservation and Museum Services in Natchez, will be on site to assist movers with the antique furniture, including the fragile and historic walnut étagère that belonged to Governor William McWillie, and ornate beds, wardrobes, and bookcases.

Antler & Iron Lighting of Hazlehurst have been chosen to remove, pack, and store the mansion’s lighting and fixtures, including the well-known rose chandelier. Once the contents of the mansion have been removed, the floors, walls, columns and other architectural elements will be protected and work on the new systems can begin.

Staff will take advantage of the opportunity offered by the mansion closing to repair damaged cornice work on the second floor and touch up paint throughout the building. To tour the Governor’s Mansion before it closes for the summer, call 601-359-6421.

Explore the furniture of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion online at http://mdah.state.ms.us/museum/furnishings.html

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