By STEVE SANOSKI
VICKSBURG – Another large piece of Vicksburg history has been preserved in a small way – at least in a physical sense – after Jackson resident and hobbyist Robin Burr delivered a 1/87 scale model of Pemberton’s Headquarters to the Vicksburg Battlefield Museum.
“It really doesn’t require any patience, which people never believe when I tell them,” said Burr, who spent eight months of his leisure time constructing the model of the home that Confederate Gen. John C. Pemberton used as his headquarters during the 1863 Siege of Vicksburg.
“If it’s something you love, it’s not a battle or a test of your patience at all.”
Also known as the Willis-Cowan House, the Pemberton’s Headquarters scale model is the third donation to the museum by Burr.
His first was a scale replica of the Vicksburg National Military Park’s Shirley House – which now sits prominently in the heart of the museum’s sprawling Vicksburg battlefield diorama – and last October delivered a model of the famous Old Court House, which took him a year to complete.
Burr’s donation is one of six new acquisitions on display at the museum on North Frontage Road, which boasts the world’s largest collection of Civil War gunboat models and the only miniature layout of the Vicksburg battlefield.
“A museum is alive, and you have to keep it growing or it becomes stale,” said owner-curator Lamar Roberts, who opened the facility in 1993 and is working to establish a transportation museum downtown, at the Levee Street Depot.
Other new acquisitions include five model vessels, including scale replicas of the Col. Lamb and Pacific ships that Roberts said are valued at about $16,000. They were donated by Fred Nagel of Sarasota, Fla., who Roberts said contacted him and suggested the donation. Three other models of the USS. Kearsarge, Robert E. Lee and Vicksburg were created and donated by Dave Denway of Vicksburg.
The additions bring the museum’s total display of ship models to 250, besides the 250-square-foot battlefield diorama with 2,300 tiny Confederate and Union soldiers, 39 original paintings by Albuquerque, N.M.-artist Herb Mott and other items.
Roberts first opened the Vicksburg Battlefield Museum on Clay Street. After operating in two other sites on Washington Street, he moved to his current location on North Frontage Road near the Vicksburg National Military Park in 2004.
An architect is working on designing the transportation museum, which is being funded in part with a $1.65 million grand from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Meanwhile, three community agencies – the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce and Vicksburg Main Street Program – are working out an agreement to share office spaces on the second and third floors of the 102-year-old, city-owned building. The museum is to be on the ground floor of the depot.