I walk behind another couple into Vicksburg’s Old Court House Museum on an especially beautiful spring day not knowing what I will find, but I love American history and I am sure this will be an educational few hours. And it is.
Greeted at the door by a docent, he tells me there are nine rooms on two floors filled with thousands of historic pieces. He says that I should start in the Civil War room.
I learned earlier in the day, when I took a walking tour with local historian and guide David Maggio, that the museum is operated and maintained by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society. Maggio said that during the Civil War, the building was a target of Union shelling because of its prominence in the skyline. It suffered only one major hit.
Built in 1858, notable Americans political figures visited the courthouse including Ulysses S. Grant, Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Jefferson Davis and William McKinley.
With its high-ceilinged rooms and ornate interior, it is considered by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 20 most outstanding courthouses in the nation. There are bullets and cannonballs, tattered Confederate flags, the tie worn by Jefferson Davis at his inauguration as Confederate President, exquisite collections of fine portraits, china, silver serving pieces and antique furniture. Antebellum clothing fills one room and others are dedicated to prominent citizens.
This is a fine collection of Vicksburg, Mississippi and American historic objects. Make sure you visit Vicksburg National Military Park to visit the museum for another great history lesson.
For more information, http://oldcourthouse.org