Court House Museum holds treasures for every history buff

Published 10:27 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

In Vicksburg lies a building where Jefferson Davis made his first political speech, Ulysses S. Grant gave his victorious speech on the Fourth of July, and presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William McKinley Jr. and Dwight D. Eisenhower  have visited.

Built in 1858, the Old Court House Museum is one of Vicksburg’s most historic landmarks and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, said director and curator Bubba Bolm. The building itself, however, is just one of the thousands of treasures visitors have the opportunity to experience.

However, had it not been for Eva W. Davis, the museum might not have ever existed.

“They wanted to tear it down, but Mrs. Davis fought for a number of years to take control of this building,” Bolm said. “She knew she could take care of it, she knew its history and she knew what a loss it would be for this community. Her fight was tenacious.”

The county eventually turned the keys over to her, and she opened a one-room museum, that has grown into the massive undertaking that the 68-year-old museum is today.

“It started off small, but it grew to be what it is today though donations,” Bolm said. “There’s not a month that goes by that we don’t receive donations in the form of relics and pieces from families.”

Everything in the building has something to do with Vicksburg and Warren County, and each room has a different theme, from the Siege of Vicksburg, to the art room, and it has rooms dedicated to Jefferson Davis, the Vick family and sports in Vicksburg.

“There’s something for everyone,” Bolm said. “There may be a husband and wife that come in, and she may not be interested in Civil War history, but she might be interested in the 1860’s clothing.”

The museum features a sash worn by Jefferson Davis during his inauguration that was also worn by George Washington during his inauguration, and a Steinway piano believed to have been the first in Mississippi.

The oldest piece in the museum is an effigy pipe that dates back to 800 to 1000 A.D., found by a local man in a creek.

“There’s nothing like it,” Bolm said. “We get people in from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, the U.K. and every other corner of the world. They are infatuated by our history.”

Bolm said working at the museum has been by far the best job he’s ever had.

“We learn something new every week here,” he said. “Our learning doesn’t stop. We make discoveries about families here, it’s all just very amazing, very interesting.”

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The museum is open until 5 during daylight saving time.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4.50 for seniors 65 and older and $3 for students from first through 12th grade.

For more information, call 601-636-0741 or visit the museum at 1008 Cherry St.

 

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in an ongoing series highlighting museums in Vicksburg.