As usual around this time of year–regardless of weird snow flurries three weeks into March–Mississippi is coming to life, with the daffodils, japanese magnolias, and now the Bradford pears blooming away, and the azaleas showing signs of budding. This is also the time of year when preservation-related activities tend to sprout willy-nilly. A few weeks ago, I tried to cover as many spring happenings as I could find (“Things to do this Spring“), including the various pilgrimages, but now I find I have to run a second post to grab new ones that have popped up.
Millsaps College is once again offering its Continuing Education series, and like last year, several classes might appeal to those who want to dig a little deeper into architectural history and historical research.
Mississippi’s Antebellum Architecture: More Than Just Big, White Columns
Cost: $60 (plus $10 materials fee); Tues., Apr. 6 – 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; 4 wks.
This class will cover the architecture of Mississippi from its earliest manmade structures through the architecture of the Antebellum Period (roughly that time between the end of the Mexican American War, circa 1848, and the beginning of the Civil War in 1861) and ending with the buildings constructed right after the end of the war. While this class will cover the great mansions, churches, courthouses and other grand public buildings that most architecture aficionados are familiar with, much time will be spent going deeper into the architecture of this period to discuss buildings that often get ignored like schools, industrial buildings, and commercial buildings, as well as the houses of the middle class. As part of this discussion, the question will be asked “Why did some of these buildings survive and others not?” While the answer to this question is in some cases obvious such as “It was burned during the war” or burned later or destroyed by a hurricane, tornado or other “act of God”, many were intentionally destroyed while others, equally old, elegant and significant, were carefully preserved. It will be discovered that the architecture of Mississippi before the war was much more vibrant, varied and complicated than the “Moonlight and Magnolias” myth would have one believe. Also equally complicated is the struggle to preserve what survives and to document what is gone.
Please note: There will be a $10 materials fee payable to the instructor at the first class meeting. 0.8 CEU for teachers is available for full attendance at this class. An additional $10 will be charged for the CEU certificate when the class ends.
“Hands-On” Genealogy: A Course for Beginners Researching Their Mississippi Roots
Cost: $75; Mon., Apr. 12 & 19 (at Millsaps), 6:00-7:30 p.m., and Sat., Apr. 17 & 24 (at the Archives), 9:00-10:30 a.m.; 4 class mtgs.
Looking for a unique and memorable gift? What about compiling your own family tree that your loved ones will treasure for years to come? Anne Webster’s genealogy class will give you the basic tools to gather this information. This course will meet at both Millsaps College and at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History building. The sessions at the College will introduce basic sources, i.e., census data, death records, newspapers, etc. county records and military records (both Civil War and World War I) will also be discussed. The classes meeting at the state archives will include hands-on instruction for the student to learn how to actually use these records.
Working with Cemetery Markers
Cost: $40 Sat. Apr. 17, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; 1 class mtg.
Historic cemeteries are a treasure trove of symbolism and architecture. Participants in this class will learn how to efficiently transcribe cemetery markers, photograph them, document and assess them, and perform basic cleaning on them. The first part of the program will be at Millsaps and then participants will make the short drive to historic Greenwood Cemetery where the remainder of the “hands-on” class will take place.
There are also classes in such things as belly dancing and “liturgical dance technique”–two separate classes presumably having nothing to do with each other and certainly nothing that serious people like us would be interested in.
As always, being the helpful soul that I am, I have placed these preservation-related classes on the MissPres calendar so that you can see where they fall in your always busy social calendars.
Two events tonight, one for those in the Jackson area, and one for those in the Jackson County area should also be noted.
I mentioned the documentary film “God’s Architects” a few weeks ago: it will be showing tonight as part of Millsaps Southern Film Circuit at the Ford Complex on the Millsaps campus at 7 PM. The movie includes a profile of Rev. H.D. Dennis of Vicksburg, whose “theological theme park” is on my list of places to see before I die:
Reverend H.D. Dennis built additions to Margaret’s Grocery along historic Highway 61 in rural Mississippi. Reverend Dennis, a 92-year old veteran of WWII who was raised by his grandmother, herself a former slave, promised his wife Margaret that he would make a castle out of her grocery store if she married him. She agreed, and so Dennis spent the consequent 23 years creating towers, archways, and signs to distract people off the highway so he could preach the gospel to whomever stopped. The highlight of his creations is a small school bus that he’s converted to a chapel.
And for those in Jackson County, according to the Mississippi Press, the Pascagoula Public Library Genealogy and Local History department will be hosting a reception to open the exhibit of the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most Endangered List, which is traveling the state to publicize the need to preserve these endangered historic landmarks. The reception begins at 6 PM at the library, and the society’s regular meeting will feature David Preziosi, executive director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust:
The exhibit will be on display throughout the month of April. It defines Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places with photographs of buildings and locations with information about their historic significance. An information booklet about the exhibit also will be available.
The exhibit features Pascagoula’s Front Street District; specifically, it includes the John B. Delmas House, built circa 1840, and the Charles B. Delmas House, built circa 1890-1910; both on the endangered list this year.