Saturday in Jackson
Not much doing. As you can tell, we didn’t choose our hotel room for the view (unless you’re a train spotter, in which case there is almost continuous entertainment out there, complete with sound effects!)
As usual, we’d planned to visit the State Capitol but came unstuck when we realised it’s closed on weekends, so we needed a quick change of plan. Downtown didn’t seem to provide many distractions (with the odd exception, above, so we were left with the Old State Capitol building, now a museum.
I can’t say we were ever so enthusiastic, but with little else on offer, there we were.
Even though we knew it was closed, we wanted to go and take a look at the “real thing”, sitting in an elevated position not too far from our hotel.
Sitting in front of the building was a post Civil War monument to the Women of the Confederacy. Each side offered a sentimental dedication to Our Mothers, Our Sisters, Our Daughters and to Our Wives. That to “Our Sisters” is as follows:
Their smiles inspired hope; their tender hands soothed the pangs of pain; their prayers encouraged faith in god; and when the dragon of war closed its fangs of poison and death, they like guardian angels, entwined their hands in their brothers arms, encouraged them to overcome the losses of war and to conquer the evils in its wake, adopting as their motto: “Lest We Forget”
The other dedications and further information can be found here.
Meanwhile, men wearing green striped trousers were closing off the street we had just driven up. The question “why?” loomed large (about the green striped trousers too).
On to the Old State Capitol then, set across the road from a row of houses which could have been found in any small town. But this is the State Capital? Jackson does not fit the usual description!
From the steps we could see our hotel, no longer the grand King Edward but a Hilton Garden Inn.
Just inside the door of the museum, we got a flavour of what lie inside; a modern, well designed, accessible visitor experience. Things began to look a little more promising.
Inside, the building had been restored to it’s former glory. Simple in comparison with the more elaborate replacement Capitol building, it was striking, nevertheless.
From there, we set out to explore the exhibits. First stop, the Keeper of the Capitol’s office. She – for it was a woman who held this post – was responsible for the everyday security and maintenance of the building and as she had to lock and unlock every day, she had special dispensation to sleep there.
The next exhibit required us to scan our entry tickets. We’d be assigned a role and be able to read about how our person would be affected by events.
Woohoo! I struck lucky!
I was served well by the 1817 constitution and my wealth and status were protected.
Others didn’t fare so well, sadly.
Next stop, the Governor’s office. Here he was, getting on with his work in fine surroundings.
Next door, there was a flavour of next year’s bi-centennial celebrations for Mississippi, when a new Museum will open and provide a worthy home for this precious symbol of the state.
I was interested to read of the conservation of this very fragile textile and felt pleased that it has been kept in relatively good shape considering its heritage.
It was hard to photograph a small fragment, but I managed a single star without too much reflection from the protective glass.
On the next floor was a series of portraits of the Mississippi Hall of Fame. Mostly “male and pale” as one might expect… Still, I liked the way the portraits had been displayed.
The neighbouring room had been set up as the Supreme Court and here, we were invited to sit up to the desk of the Appellent or the Respondent, to choose a case to argue and to recreate a slice of legal history. There were five cases from which to choose.
We chose Case 1, Trotter v. McCall and Mary stepped up to the podium to read the case for the Appellent.
The decision was outlined and the case upheld. What a great way for youngsters to explore the legal system!
From up here on the top floor, we could get a better view of the dome and the intricate mouldings.
The lantern was also adorned with a design I could only see as “M” for Mississippi. You know how it is, once you’ve “seen” a pattern?
As we already knew, the Right to Vote is a huge issue here and in Mississippi it was no different from elsewhere.
We scanned our tickets again to see if we had the right to vote. I struck lucky yet again but Mary didn’t
The last display we visited made note of a variety of events including the State Fair, which had taken place in this very building on several occasions. I had to take photographs of these exhibits, bearing in mind the workshops I’ve been doing and the preponderance of jars of jam and pickle in those exhibits!
Because where the WI is concerned, there is inevitably at least one jar of jam!
We’d more or less done with the Old State Capitol by now and believe it or not, it was lunchtime! We’d underestimated how interesting and well put together the exhibition inside would be and I think all of us left the richer for having visited.
Stepping outside, we encountered a beautiful bride, having her wedding photographs taken. What a gorgeous dress and how lovely she looked. We chatted with her proud Mum, about the wedding and about the referendum result yesterday. Just like everyone else we’ve spoken to in the last day or two, she referred to the upcoming US election and hoped that the electorate would learn from our mistake.
With an afternoon to spare and a few items still on my shopping list, we ventured out into the shopping territory. Tuesday Morning has been on my list for a while, as a source of well priced papercraft items. It didn’t disappoint and once again, a charming young assistant began a conversation with me as I paid for my purchases. Oh, how she’d love to visit London, she told me. How lucky I was to be able to travel and to see the world. I agreed, and offered my encouragement to her, because really, there is no better way to learn.
Another couple of stores later, in which we had similar conversations with such friendly and charming people who showed genuine interest in what had brought us to Jackson and who shared how much they loved our accent! Of course, this was all spoken in the broadest of Mississippi accent but no matter – the young woman who told me I spoke just “like Nanny McPhee” made me smile!
Tonight, we chose to return to the Iron Horse Grill and had another great meal. Jackson is a funny old place really, but I’m so pleased we came!