Monday, May 25, 2015

A Tale of Two Museums

Another RAINY day in Mississippi, we took the crappy weather as an opportunity to tour a couple of museums in Vicksburg.  The Old Depot Museum was housed in, can you believe it?, an old train depot right on the Mississippi riverfront.

The depot was originally built in 1904

While the majority of its exhibits relate to trains (they have amazing model train set ups), the one I was most interested in was a diorama of the entire Vicksburg battlefield.  It took up an entire room and put into perspective all the sites we had seen during our previous tour of the Military Park.

Stock photo. Just a small portion of the diorama.

Civil War blanket

Photograph of the descendants of Gen Pemberton and Gen Grant in Vicksburg on the 74th anniversary of the Grant's assault.

The museum also has model cars, ships and trains and a large collection of paintings of the war.  And, of course, a gift shop!

The Old Court House Museum has a fascinating history as a building.  Built by slaves in 1858 on the highest hill in Vicksburg, it was to be the new court house for Warren County.  It has survived Union shelling, a tornado hit and years of neglect and now houses thousands of artifacts, those historically important and the ordinary mundane from everyday life in the past.

The Old Courthouse.  It really is on a high hill when you see it in person.

None of the pictures came out very well, since it was RAINING the entire time!

View from the sidewalk

Original iron shutters on the windows

Cast iron stairs. These stairs were forged somewhere in the North, a fact that astounded the Union soldiers when they took possession of the building.

The Jefferson Davis room was a tribute to the Confederate president and contained, among other things, a silver tea service, furniture and the tie he wore when he was inaugurated.  Did you know that he initially moved to Canada after the war?  Ultimately, he settled in Memphis, TN and became the president of the Carolina Life Insurance Company.  I can't help but think that post-war life might have been a bit dull for him!

The courtroom has heard the arguments of Jefferson Davis, Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington, to name a few, and was last used in 1939.

This antique bath tub caught my eye

And this tub was designed to sit on little ledge and let the water run off into the center

A portion of the large collection of antique quilts

Battle flag from the siege at Vicksburg

A room full of furniture that once belonged to the Vick family, for whom the city was named in 1825.

These museums both have so much more than I've shown here, so if you ever get the opportunity to visit Vicksburg, make sure you take some time to make a stop at one, or both, of them.  Most people, we were told by a curator, visit the Military Park and overlook the historical gems, these museums included, that fill the downtown of Vicksburg.

Until next time...

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