By Jordan Rushing | From the Guest Column
Our city of Vicksburg has one of the most unique and diverse histories in the South.
Being on the river between New Orleans and Memphis, Vicksburg served as a midway hub for merchants, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, missionaries, political philosophers and just about any other type of traveler that saw America’s expansion into the West as an opportunity for advancement for themselves and their future generations.
This mix of characters is what makes Vicksburg’s past such a fascinating subject of study when compared to the usual agricultural lifestyle that made up the majority of the South throughout history. People and cultures from all over the world landed in this city, many of them stayed, and all of them have contributed to the melting pot of concepts and ideas that have made Vicksburg what it is today.
The Old Court House Museum is a shrine dedicated to preserving this knowledge. Our doors opened in 1948 thanks to the efforts of our founder, Mrs. Eva Whitaker Davis, whose vision of the building’s potential was lost on so many at that time. Against all odds, she fought to have the building saved and preserved to host artifacts, research and genealogy for the Vicksburg and Warren County area.
This was not an effort by her alone, though; the community of Warren County is who truly made her vision come true. The museum’s collection is made up entirely of donations from the folks right here in Vicksburg. You see it as you walk through the building and notice the names written on the display tags showing which family presented the items to the museum. Some artifacts are valuable and one-of-a-kind, others are more personable, but they all tell another part of the story of Vicksburg and our community. The Old Court House Museum is not just a museum in Vicksburg; it is Vicksburg’s museum.
For 74 years, the Old Court House Museum has been operated and cared for by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society. We are a group of people in the community that has an immense interest in the preservation of the history of this area.
Our organization would like to extend an invitation to the community to please consider becoming a member of the Society. Membership is an annual tax-deductible donation to the Museum, and the funds raised go directly to the preservation and continuation of the Museum and its contents.
An Individual Membership is $25 and grants admission to the museum for the entire year. If you do not want to purchase individual memberships for your entire family, a Family Membership can be purchased instead for $100 and also grants admission to the museum for the year. Researchers who want to frequent our archives can purchase a Research Membership for $50, which grants admission to the museum for the year as well as allows them to research in the McCardle Library by appointment without having to pay the research fee.
Business owners who would like to support the museum can purchase a Business Membership for $500, which grants admission to the museum for them and up to 10 of their employees at one time for a year. Business members will also be listed as a sponsor of the Museum on our website. All members will receive a quarterly newsletter with information about new donations, events and interesting research we have come across.
Members are also invited to the Annual Meeting of the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society in November. If you are already a member of the Society and wish to contribute more, consider purchasing a membership as a gift for someone else.
We wholeheartedly believe that our community has a vested interest in the preservation of our history. It’s a story that only the people of Vicksburg can tell, and a story that many wish to hear. People visit from all over the world to learn more about our great city. Many of them stop to tell us personally that their visit to the Museum is the highlight of their trip to the South.
So please consider joining us and being part of the preservation of the Old Court House Museum, and that which makes their trip special.
The application for membership is on our website at www.oldcourthouse.org and payment can be made there under the Become a Member tab at the top of the page. Folks can also send a check made out to the Old Court House Museum at 1008 Cherry St., Vicksburg, MS 39183.
Jordan Rushing is the Assistant Director/Curator of the Old Courthouse Museum. He can be contacted at [email protected]