Celebrate the holidays this season with the Department of Archives and History. The department’s historic sites and museums have scheduled live holiday music, model trains, displays of Christmas trees, and more throughout December.
On Friday, December 3, the governor’s mansion, state capitol, Old Capitol Museum, and Winter Building will sport traditional holiday decorations for the fifteenth annual Old Jackson Christmas by Candlelight Tour. Free transportation will take visitors from site to site, with parking available at the Old Capitol, state capitol, and Winter Building. The Candlelight Tour begins at 4:30 and runs until 8:30.
The Old Capitol, Jackson’s oldest building, will be decked with greenery in the style used in 1840 when local women prepared the building for a visit by Andrew Jackson. Garlands will hang around the rotunda railing on the second floor and the stairwells, and wreaths will decorate the exterior of the building. Enjoy cookies and cider while you listen to musical groups from across the city. Performing will be the Jim Hill High School choir at 4:45, the Mississippi Girlchoir at 5:30, the Mississippi Boychoir at 6:15, Galloway Concordia Ensemble at 7, and the Hinds Community College Brass Ensemble at 7:45.
The grand Mississippi State Capitol will be decorated with Mississippi-grown Leyland Cypress Christmas trees, garlands, and poinsettias. Visitors will be entertained by local school and church choirs performing on the stairs on the second floor.
The circa-1841 Mississippi Governor’s Mansion will sport wreaths on the windows and doors and traditional southern holiday decorations of seasonal greenery inside, with an elegant Christmas tree in the Front Rose Parlor. Visitors can enjoy homemade holiday treats and live piano music.
The model town of Possum Ridge and its trains that have entertained generations of Mississippians at the Old Capitol are now located in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building. During the Candlelight Tour there will be readings from A Special Visitor Comes to Possum Ridge, the children’s book inspired by the exhibit. For more information about the Candlelight Tour call 601-576-6925.
The Old Capitol is offering a chance to give during the holiday season. Visitors are invited to donate books and non-perishable food items throughout December as part of the museum’s Food For Thought program, which aims to teach that being a good citizen means taking an active role in improving our own communities. On Fridays at 3:30 and Saturdays at 10 a.m., December 3–18, the Old Capitol Museum will present Telling Tales, a series for elementary children featuring stories and crafts. Mississippi’s first lady Marsha Barbour will kick off the series with a reading on Friday, December 3.
Carols and other holiday songs will fill the Old Capitol Museum’s rotunda for Sounds of the Season. The Hinds Community College Choir will perform on December 3, Shirim Choir of Beth Israel Congregation on December 4, Pearl River Community College Choir on December 11, and Scotland Baptist Church Ensemble of Yazoo City on December 17; and the Wells Methodist Choir on December 18. All groups will begin at noon except the Shirim Choir, which will start at 3 p.m. For more information about events at the Old Capitol, call 601-576-6920 or email the Old Capitol.
The historic section of the governor’s mansion will showcase traditional holiday decorations using seasonal greenery for Christmas at the Governor’s Mansion December 3–21. Guided tours are offered Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 to 11 a.m. on the half-hour. The tours are free of charge, but advance reservations are required for groups of ten or more. The mansion will be closed for tours from Wednesday, December 22, through Monday, January 3, and may be closed at other times for official state functions. For more information about events at the governor’s mansion or to make a tour reservation, call 601-359-6421.
From December 4 through 23, trains will again run through the model town of Possum Ridge on the first floor of the William F. Winter Archives and History Building at the corner of North and Amite streets in Jackson. As a part of Winter Holidays, historic Christmas trees and toys will be on display Monday, noon–4 p.m., Tuesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Tours for school groups are available by reservation Tuesday–Friday, December 7–17, 9 a.m.–noon. For information call 601-576-6800.
Outside Greenville, Winterville Mounds will hold its Christmas open house inside the museum on Sunday, December 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local choirs will perform holiday music and refreshments will be served. For more information call 662-334-4684 or email Winterville Mounds.
In southwest Mississippi, Historic Jefferson College will again have its Celebration of Christmas Trees. Trees are brought into the first-floor classroom of the historic West Wing. Classes decorate the trees with ornaments they have made and learn the story of Jefferson College during the Territorial period. Last year more than four hundred young people participated. The Celebration of Christmas Trees will run from December 6 to 31 and is open to the public. For more information call 601-442-2901 or email Jefferson College.