Mini-version of USS Vicksburg arrives at Old Depot Museum

Published 10:57 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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The Old Depot Museum added its newest piece of Vicksburg history Monday as a scale model of the World War II-era USS Vicksburg was unveiled while the museum waits for memorabilia from the most recent ship to bear the name.

The 1:96 scale model of the Cleveland-class cruiser took 276 hours to complete and measures in at a whopping 6’8”, said Dave Benway, a model maker and curator for the museum.

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“It had as many guns on it as a battleship or close to it,” Benway said.

The ship will go on display in a yet unfinished room on the third floor of the museum, said museum director Lamar Roberts. The room is being used as storage by Vicksburg Main Street, he said.

“Just getting this ship makes a lot of progress on what we’re trying to do,” Roberts said.

Plans for the third-floor room on the north end of the depot building include housing memorabilia from the World War II and modern era incarnations of the Vicksburg. The floor of the room will be covered with wood taken from the deck of the World War II-era Vicksburg, Roberts said, and the room might be set up to look like the inside of the ship.

“I think it will be a nice touch for us. When you walk in there, you’ll be walking on the Vicksburg,” Roberts said.

The extent of the room renovations will depend on “how much money we can scare up,” he said.

The U.S. Navy recently told the museum that they would donate items including plates, a bell and a flag, from the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser once it is decommissioned.

In August, Roberts, director of the museum sent a letter to U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi, seeking a loan or donations of items from the current USS Vicksburg.

Four warships have been christened the USS Vicksburg, and in addition to the new model, the Old Depot Museum is home to a replica of the modern-day cruiser and an assortment of memorabilia that was donated by sailors aboard the World War II-era Vicksburg.

“We have boxes full of stuff,” Roberts said.

The World War II-era items include the ship’s logbook, photos and 8 mm films, which are currently tucked away in the museum’s library.

Benway is now constructing a 2-foot scale model of a Civl War blockader, which was the first ship to bear the name Vicksburg.

“It’s already hulled and the masts are made,” he said.

The first Vicksburg was commissioned in 1863 and served as a Union blockader during the Civil War. The second boat to use the name was commissioned in 1897.

The Old Depot Museum, in the former Mississippi Valley and Yazoo Railroad Station, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday though Saturday. Admission is $5.50 for adults and $3.25 for students.