VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – If there is a misconception about the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, it is that it’s just a Civil War Museum. Granted, that is what they have more of than any other one theme, especially when you count all the research material on the shelves military records and diaries.
But there is so much more to the other collections in the museum, and most importantly, this is Vicksburg’s story told by its citizens. These artifacts aren’t anything the museum has sought and bought. All of this has been brought.
“Everything here is a donation from families or locals. So it’s been growing over time. It’s just a vast collection. It’s got a little bit of everything,” said historian Jordan Rushing.
Of the top two entities at the museum, Jordan pointed out the J. Mack Moore collection of old riverboats photos. These boats used to be commonplace on the Mississippi. Now, all we have are pictures of them.
But there is something even more rare here; an item from the first inaugurations of two first presidents of two different nations.
“Actually, it is a little bit more significant historically, but it’s a sash worn by George Washington as well as Jefferson Davis at their inaugurations. It was passed down through the Van Rensseller family,” said Rushing.
The family was close to Washington and got possession of the inaugural sash worn at his swearing-in in 1789 in New York. And then, they moved south to Mississippi and became acquainted with the Davis family and loaned Davis the George Washington sash for his inauguration. The sash worn by two first Presidents is rare to say the least, and it is among the assorted treasures at the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg.
If you are a Washington fan, there is a letter written by Washington with his signature at the museum at the Grand Gulf Military Park at Grand Gulf just north of Port Gibson.