Museums & Historic Sites

March is Women’s History Month so we will be showcasing exceptional Mississippi women and related collections on the blog. This post was written by Marilynn Jones, director of the Manship House Museum.

Marble boot, given to Mrs. Luther Manship for her efforts toward construction of the Confederate Monument.  Accession Number: 2009.6.29 (Museum Division Collection)

Marble boot, given to Mrs. Luther Manship for her efforts toward construction of the Confederate Monument.  Accession Number: 2009.6.29 (Museum Division Collection)

Marble boot, given to Mrs. Luther Manship for her efforts toward construction of the Confederate Monument. Accession Number: 2009.6.29 (Museum Division Collection)

Mary Belmont Phelps Manship (1862-1898) was an instrumental force in the construction of the Confederate Monument in Jackson, Mississippi. Born in Huntsville, Alabama and educated at Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi, Mary Belmont Phelps and Luther Manship were married in 1881, in Magnolia, Mississippi. Luther Manship, the ninth of fifteen children of Charles Henry and Adaline Manship, was a prominent lecturer who served as Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi from 1908 to 1912. Both Luther and Belmont Manship were concerned for the welfare of the Civil War veterans.

On June 16, 1886, Mrs. Luther Manship and several other concerned women met in the Senate Chamber at the Old Capitol and organized the Confederate Monument Association of Mississippi.1 Their mission was to raise funds for a monument honoring the Confederate dead of Mississippi, to be located on the south Capitol Green, an area that is now the front lawn of the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building. The first funds for the monument resulted from a concert organized by Mr. and Mrs. Luther Manship that featured a variety of songs and recitations performed by local talent. For several more years, the ladies of the Confederate Monument Association continued their struggle to raise funds, and in 1888 the legislature passed a bill appropriating $10,000 to complete the monument.

Confederate Monument today.

Confederate Monument today.

The birthday of Jefferson Davis, June 3, 1891, was chosen as the date for the official dedication the Monument. A parade of Civil War veterans, the Mississippi National Guard, officers of the Ladies’ Monument Association, members of the family of the late Jefferson Davis, and other dignitaries, processed from the City Hall to witness the unveiling by Jefferson Davis Hayes, grandson of Jefferson Davis. It was estimated that twenty thousand people from fourteen states witnessed the unveiling of the Confederate Monument.2

For over one hundred years, the Monument has honored the Confederate dead of Mississippi and the efforts of the Ladies’ Monument Association.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.


1 John Ray Skates, Mississippi’s Old Capitol: Biography of a Building (Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1990).

2 The Daily Clarion-Ledger, June 3, 1891, Jackson, Mississippi.

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This week marks the third anniversary since the re-opening of the Old Capitol Museum after its post-Katrina restoration. These photographs of the 2007-2008 restoration were taken by OCM Director Clay Williams.

Old Capitol Restoration senate chamber

Work on the ceiling of the Senate Chamber

Old Capitol Restoration senate floor

Working on the floor of the Senate Chamber

Old Capitol Restoration state library

Scaffolding in the State Library

Old Capitol Restoration exterior

Rear view of the Old Capitol

View more photos in the Old Capitol Restoration Gallery. Old Capitol Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m., free of charge. Located at Capitol and State Streets in downtown Jackson, parking in rear.

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Old Capitol Museum exterior

Today marks the third anniversary of the grand opening of the Old Capitol Museum after its post-Katrina restoration. OCM Director Clay Williams documented the 2007-2008 restoration of this National Historic Landmark in hundreds of photographs. We have selected a few to look at here, but you can view more in the Restoration Gallery. Read more about the restoration here.

Old Capitol restoration House Chamber

Workers in the House of Representatives Chamber

Old Capitol Restoration 1st floor corridor

Plaster work in 1st floor corridor

Old Capitol Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m., free of charge. Located at Capitol and State Streets in downtown Jackson, parking in rear.

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This series explores the life of Dunbar Rowland (1864-1937), first director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He served from 1902 to 1937. This post will be the last of the series.

We close this series with an entry by guest writer William F. Winter, governor of Mississippi 1980-84 and the former president of the MDAH board of trustees, who met Dunbar Rowland.

Dunbar Rowland’s portrait in the Hall of Fame, Senate Gallery, Old Capitol Museum (Museum of Mississippi History Collection)

Dunbar Rowland’s portrait in the Hall of Fame, Senate Gallery, Old Capitol Museum (Museum of Mississippi History Collection)

Among the pleasant memories of my boyhood was a meeting in November 1935 with Dr. Dunbar Rowland, who was then the Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.  I was visiting my father who was a member of the State Senate.

My father was a long-time friend of Dr. Rowland and thought that I should meet him.  His office was located on the first floor of the New Capitol.  The entire department consisted of only three people.

Dr. Rowland greeted my father and me most graciously and spent a generous amount of time discussing his work in the Department of which he had served as Director since its founding some thirty years before.

As we got up to leave, Dr. Rowland took from a shelf behind his desk a rather large book entitled Andrew Jackson’s Campagin Against the British written by Dr. Rowland’s wife, Eron Rowland.

He handed it to me but not before writing on its title page these words:

“To William F. Winter, with the best

wishes of his friend, Dunbar Rowland”.

I was just twelve years old, and to have Dr. Rowland refer to me as “his friend” impressed me very much.

That book has been a prized possession ever since.  The meeting with Dr. Rowland did much to inspire my life-long interest in history.

–William F. Winter

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Windsor Ruins Today

On February 22, 2011, in Museums & Historic Sites, by Amanda
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Windsor Ruins 2004

These images show Windsor as it looks today. The site, which is administered by MDAH, is open to the public.

Windsor Ruins 2004

Directions to Windsor Ruins:

From U.S. Hwy 61 north of Lorman, take the Alcorn State University exit and proceed west on Hwy 552.  Go past the Alcorn entrance and continue west and then north on 552.  There are Windsor Ruins signs along the way.  The entrance to Windsor Ruins is on the right about 3 miles past the Alcorn entrance.  The site is always open.

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