Focused on Mississippi: Rarest items at Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg

Focused on Mississippi

VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – Jordan Rushing is the historian and Bubba Bolm is the director of the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg. I asked them to put their heads together to tell us the two most important or the two rarest items in the collection at the museum. For them, there’s so much to choose from.

“We’ve got nine rooms in the building. Each one has a different category. It goes over Vicksburg History. There is art, music, Civil War artifacts, vast collection of Civil War artifacts. Research Material. We have Americana History,” explained Rushing.

One item probably isn’t the most important item to a lot of people. However, Rushing admitted it was a close contender for his top two. It’s an original Teddy Bear given to a Vicksburg child by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907.

You’re probably familiar that the Teddy Bear’s origins are just up the road 40 or so miles from Vicksburg-, when Roosevelt refused to shoot a tethered bear. A political cartoon prompted the renaming of a stuffed bear made by the Steiff Company to Teddy’s Bears or as we know them today, Teddy Bears. One of those original bears is in Vicksburg.

Now, back to the official top two most historic. One of those is a collection of old photographs.

“And that’s the J. Mack Moore collection, the photo collection we have. He had a photography studio here in town. But as a pastime, he loved to photograph old boats coming down the Mississippi River. In doing so, he documented a vast majority of the Vicksburg area from the late 1800s through the 1900s, and it’s very unique to have so much of a visual representation from that time period,” said Rushing.

You have to remember, when Moore took the pictures of these river boats, they were all over the place, and it would be no more special back then than taking a picture of every tow boat on the river today. But all of a sudden one day, all the steam powered boats were no more.

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