Night at Museum to explore 150 years of history

Published 11:50 am Thursday, September 10, 2015

History comes to life during a night at the museum. The Old Courthouse Museum will experience over 150 years of history in one night.

This new adventure through time will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, at 1008 Cherry St.

“We came up with the idea of doing a living history program,” said Morgan Gates of the Old Courthouse advisory board said. “The idea is we’re going to take a trip through time. We’re going to meet different characters from the history of the old courthouse and the history of Vicksburg as well. ”

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The guests will meet on their journey are Newitt Vick, Jefferson Davis, a Civil War surgeon, President Teddy Roosevelt and Eva W. Davis. Tour guides will take groups of six to 10 people through different areas of the museum to listen to each figure speak to their experiences.

City founder Vick will speak about his vision for the city from a makeshift wooded hill looking out onto the land. Jefferson Davis, who began his political career in Vicksburg and made his first speech as the President of the Confederacy on the steps of the Old Courthouse, will then address the guests before the Civil War.

A Civil War surgeon will speak about medicine during the Siege of Vicksburg with his table prepared for an operation. Next, Teddy Roosevelt will describe his bear hunting expeditions in the Vicksburg area in 1903 and 1907 when the Teddy Bear got its name.

Last, guests will meet Eva W. Davis, the woman who saved the Old Court House from being demolished and founded the museum in the 1940s.

The journey through time will last about 30 minutes and tours will happen during a two-hour period. Gates said if people were waiting after 9 p.m. they would extend the hours to make sure no one misses out.

“It ought to be fun, I think,” Gates said. “It’s an interesting little way to learn a little bit about us, get a little glimpse of the courthouse. There are probably a lot of people who live here in town who’ve never even been in the Old Court House.”

Historian Jordan Rushing said it is important for the people of the community to learn about the history of the area and this is a fun way for them to become educated on Jefferson Davis and Teddy Roosevelt’s connections to Vicksburg.

“It kind of gives you a little bit of a perspective into your local history,” Rushing said.

Museum director and curator George “Bubba” Bolm said many people have shown interest in attending the event.

“There’s already close to 100 people that have said they wanted to come through,” Bolm said.

This is the first year the museum has held the fundraiser, but they plan to continue hosting it as an annual event.

“We’re going to plan on probably doing it every year. It won’t necessarily be the same theme every year. It might be a different cast of characters next year,” Gates said.

Gates said Vicksburg is so rich in history they could probably put on a different show with different characters for at least 10 years before doing the same show twice.

The museum does not get any state or federal funding and is supported completely by private donations. The fundraiser will help with maintenance and all other expenses associated with the museum.

“It does not get any money other than admissions, what they sell in the souvenir shop and what we fundraise. Otherwise this building would be a parking lot,” Gates said. “It’s an old building, it takes a lot of upkeep and maintenance and stuff like this. There’s no tax money going to support this so we need to raise funds.”

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets will be available at the door.

For more information, call 601-636-0741.