Museums & Historic Sites

Today’s post comes from guest blogger Clay Williams, director of the Old Capitol Museum.

Statehood Day, House Chamber, Old Capitol Museum, 2009

MDAH Director H.T. Holmes and featured speaker Governor Haley Barbour. Statehood Day, Old Capitol Museum, 2009.

On December 10, 1817, President James Monroe signed the joint resolution from Congress admitting Mississippi as the twentieth state. Mississippi’s road from a federal territory to statehood was a turbulent one, but after nearly twenty years, Mississippi had become a part of the Union.

The Old Capitol Museum proudly celebrates Mississippi’s 193rd birthday by hosting the second annual Statehood Day. On December 10 at noon in the historic House of Representatives Chamber, former governor William F. Winter will speak on this momentous occasion.  Governor Winter is the perfect choice for this presentation due to his perspective as a former governor and his tenure as the longtime president of the MDAH Board of Trustees. 

The Old Capitol’s over 170 years of history also provides the perfect setting to discuss Mississippi’s past, present, and future. The Old Capitol Museum looks forward to hosting this event and joining its citizens in wishing Mississippi a happy birthday!

Located on State Street at Capitol, the Old Capitol Museum’s regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, free of charge. For more information, please call 601-576-6920 or email the Old Capitol.

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Decorating at the Winter Building, November 30, 2010

Museum division staff decorate the historic Christmas trees in the lobby

The holiday season has arrived at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building! Here’s a look at the decorations sprouting up all over the place.

Christmas decorations in library, 2010

The Reference Library has extra security for the holidays!

Library Christmas decorations, 2010

Decorations in the library

Come by tonight for the Old Jackson Christmas by Candlelight tour and see the decorations, as well as holiday decor at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Mississippi State Capitol, and Old Capitol Museum. Tours are tonight only from 4:30-8:30 p.m.
Musical entertainment is scheduled at the Governor’s Mansion, State Capitol, Old Capitol Museum, and Winter Building. Historic holiday film footage will be shown at the Winter Building. Refreshments will be available at the Governor’s Mansion and the Old Capitol Museum.

Shuttle buses will run between sites approximately every 5 minutes. Visitors may begin the tour at whichever site they choose and take the shuttle to the various sites. Parking is available at all sites, except the Governor’s Mansion. For more information, please call 601-576-6800.

Possum Ridge train exhibit

Possum Ridge train exhibit detail

For more images of decorations at the Winter Building and other MDAH museums and sites, check out the department facebook page and the Old Capitol Museum facebook page!

Mississippi Governor's Mansion 2009

Mississippi Governor's Mansion, 2009

Don’t miss the Old Jackson Christmas by Candlelight tour this Friday, December 3 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. See the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Mississippi State Capitol, and Old Capitol Musuem in all their holiday splendor! The William F. Winter Archives and History Building will also be host to the village of Possum Ridge and its famous trains, as well as the historic Christmas tree exhibit.

Experience the magic of the holiday season as you visit Jackson’s most historic buildings! These images show the popular event in past years. Read more details about the tour below.

Mississippi State Capitol, 2005

Old Capitol Museum, 2009

Refreshments will be available at the Governor’s Mansion and the Old Capitol Museum. Musical entertainment, including choirs and instrumental ensembles, is scheduled at the Governor’s Mansion, State Capitol, Old Capitol Museum, and Winter Building. Historic holiday film footage will be shown at the Winter Building. 

Shuttle buses will run between sites approximately every 5 minutes. Visitors may begin the tour at whichever site they choose and take the shuttle to the various sites. Parking is available at all sites, except the Governor’s Mansion. For more information, please call 601-576-6800 or email the Museum division.

Today marks the last post in the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion series, written by guest blogger Mary Lohrenz, curator of the mansion. For further reading about the mansion, please see the list at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoyed it!

During the 1972-75 restoration of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, only furniture with a documented association with past nineteenth-century governors was retained for display.  Edward Vason Jones, architect, interior designer, and consultant to the White House, was hired to select and acquire appropriate furniture and decorative arts objects for the mansion. Jones acquired furniture and furnishings in the Empire style as well as pieces in the French Restauration, Rococo Revival, and Renaissance Revival styles. From 1980 to 1983, noted historical consultant William Seale provided guidance on acquisitions.

Take a look at the “Period Furnishings” section on the governor’s mansion Web site to view an online gallery for four styles of furnishings featured in the mansion: Empire, French Restauration, Rococo Revival and Renaissance Revival.

Pedastal table. Accession Number: 73.47 (Governor's Mansion collection)

Pedestal table in Rose Parlor. Accession Number: 73.47 (Governor's Mansion Collection)

Detail, pedastal table. Accession Number: 73.47 (Governor's Mansion Collection)
Detail, pedestal table. Accession Number: 73.47 (Governor’s Mansion Collection)

An elegant pedestal table such as this one would have been the focal point of a nineteenth-century parlor. This c.1825-35 table may have been made in Philadelphia and was purchased in 1973 for the mansion. The Empire style table is mahogany and mahogany veneer with an intarsia (inlaid mosaic) marble top.

Read more about the mansion’s history and view frequently asked questions on the mansion website.

Free tours of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion are given Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. on the half-hour.  Reservations are required for groups of ten or more.  Because the mansion may be closed for official state functions, you should call 601-359-6421 to confirm tour availability.

Learn More!

Cain, Helen and Anne D. Czarniecki. An Illustrated Guide to the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1984.

Darras, Melba. A Taste of History. D’Iberville: Pathfinder Publications, Stanley/Clark Publishers, 1999.

The Governor’s Mansion: A Pictorial History. Jackson: Mississippi Executive Mansion Commission, Inc., 1975.

Lohrenz, Mary. Mississippi Governor’s Mansion Docent Manual. January 2011.

Mississippi Governor’s Mansion website. www.mdah.state.ms.us/museum/mansion.html

Mississippi History Now website. http://mshistory.k12.ms.us/ (An online publication of the Mississippi Historical Society. See the “Governors of Mississippi” article by David G. Sansing.)

Peatross, C. Ford and Robert O. Mellown. William Nichols, Architect. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Art Gallery, 1979.

Sansing, David G. and Carroll Waller. A History of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1977.

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

Smith, Timothy B. Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi for the Mississippi Historical Society and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 2010.

Winter, Elise. Dinner at the Mansion. Oxford: Yoknapatawpha Press, 1982 and reprinted 2010.

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Today we continue the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion series, written by guest blogger Mary Lohrenz, curator of the mansion.   
Governor John J. Pettus. Call Number: PI/1989.0008 (MDAH Collection)

Governor John J. Pettus. Call Number: PI/1989.0008 (MDAH Collection)

Governor Benjamin G. Humphreys. Call Number: PI/1989.0008 (MDAH Collection)

Governor Benjamin G. Humphreys. Call Number: PI/1989.0008 (MDAH Collection)

On January 9, 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union and was soon involved in fighting for its life against forces of the United States.  On May 6, 1863, as Union troops advanced towards the capital of Jackson, state government bureaus and offices were forced to evacuate the city and Governor John Jones Pettus had to flee his residence in the Governor’s Mansion.  Jackson fell to Union troops on May 14, 1863, who then left the city to take part in their campaign against Vicksburg.  On May 29, 1863, Dr. R. N. Anderson addressed Governor Pettus that he was using the Mansion to care for wounded and ill Confederate soldiers.  In early June 1863, Governor Pettus returned to Jackson, but after the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, he left the city before it was reoccupied by Northern soldiers. On the evening of July 18, 1863, General William T. Sherman and other Union officers dined in the Governor’s Mansion and toasted the joint successes of the U.S. Army and Navy.

During the remainder of the Civil War, restless state government offices remained on the move and exiled from their capital city, Jackson.  First settling briefly in Meridian, the capital moved to Columbus and Macon.  Furniture from the Governor’s Mansion was sent to the temporary capital of Macon for safekeeping.  In the wake of the tragic war, in October 1865, Governor Benjamin G. Humphreys authorized a person to retrieve the Mansion furniture from Macon.  It, however, had been either stolen or destroyed and could not be located.

Sofa belonging to Gov. Humphreys. Accession Number: 93.1.1 (Governor's Mansion Collection)

Sofa belonging to Gov. Humphreys. Accession Number: 93.1.1 (Mississippi Governor's Mansion Collection)

Today, Mansion visitors can view the c. 1850 sofa (on exhibit in the Gold Bedroom) which belonged to Governor Benjamin G. Humphreys and was probably used in the Governor’s Mansion during his 1865 – 1868 term as governor.  This Rococo Revival style sofa was the private property of Governor Humphreys and was donated to the Governor’s Mansion by his descendents in 1993.

Read more about the Mansion’s history and view frequently asked questions about the mansion. 

Free tours of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion are given Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. on the half-hour.  Reservations are required for groups of ten or more.  Because the mansion may be closed for official state functions, you should call 601-359-6421 to confirm tour availability.

Sources:

Cain, Helen and Anne D. Czarniecki.  An Illustrated Guide to the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion.  Jackson:  University Press of Mississippi, 1984.

Howell, H. Grady, Jr.  Chimneyville:  “likenesses”of early days in Jackson, Mississippi.  Madison, Mississippi:  Chickasaw Bayou Press, 2007.

Lohrenz, Mary.  Mississippi Governor’s Mansion Docent Manual.  January 2011.

Sansing, David G. and Carroll Waller.  A History of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion.  Jackson:  University Press of Mississippi, 1977.

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

Smith, Timothy B.  Mississippi in the Civil War:  The Home Front.  Jackson:  University Press of Mississippi for the Mississippi Historical Society and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 2010.

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