JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – It’s a Tuesday morning when the curator of the Governor’s Mansion, Lauren Miller, opens the front door at precisely 9:30 a.m. to greet any visitors who may be there.
This time, it’s not a busy day. Just one person showed up to take the free tour. It just so happens that he is a tourist from Toronto.
Docent Anna Marie Barnes greets him and begins the tour of the oldest part of Mississippi’s Governor’s Mansion, which is the second oldest continuously occupied Governor’s Mansion in the nation.
The front part of the mansion is not lived in anymore. It’s a functioning museum, you might say. “Functioning” in that the First Family uses it for receptions and the occasional State Dinner. It’s really decked out at Christmas. Other than that, it’s kept much as it would have looked when it was first occupied in 1842, not that it’s always looked like this.
It’s undergone many restorations and renovations, not to mention the Civil War when the furniture was removed for safekeeping, but was never found after the war.
At one time, the mansion had fallen into such disrepair that the governor at that time refused to move into it.
“On several occasions, there was discussion about tearing the mansion down or selling the mansion,” said Miller.
Instead of leveling it, it was restored. We have this fine example of history and architecture still with us today.
“It’s such a pleasure just to be in the Governor’s Mansion. It’s beautiful. You get to meet people from all over the country and other countries,” said Barnes.
“It’s gorgeous. The decorations, the interior design. It’s just beautiful,” said Clinton, the tourist from Toronto.
Time nor war nor neglect has robbed us of it. It’s open Tuesday through Thursday mornings for tours beginning promptly at 9:30 a.m.