Although Charles Manship would become the mayor of Jackson, MS during the Civil War he was actually born in Maryland. He was trained in the making of chairs and as a decorative painter. It was as the latter that he eventually made his living. Mr. Manship was lured to Jackson by the building boom of the 1830's. He found work as a painter on the State Capitol building which is now the Old Capitol Museum. Eventually he opened a paint and wallpaper shop.
Mr. Manship had fifteen children with his wife, Adaline, and in 1857 he built his "cottage villa'' in the Greek revival style. The home wasn't as pretentious as the southern mansions that were part of Jackson's landscape, but it served to house the large family. When the Manships celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary ten of their children were still alive to help them.
The Manship Home sits on a four acre lot in an area of Jackson that had few homes around it. There were only about three thousand residents in Jackson at the time. There are many native trees and shrubs that are still alive from when the Manship family lived at the home. Although Mr. Manship patterned the home from a design in a popular pattern book of the time he added touches to make it livable in a southern climate. The windows were floor to ceiling and he added a central hallway for adequate ventilation.
Olive and cream are the original colors of the house and the shingles have been replicated for authenticity. Guests to Manship House Museum can see the parlor, sitting room, the dining room, three bedrooms and a most modern convenience for the time, a bathing chamber. The house has been restored to 1888 furnishings and decorations. The wallpaper that is in the museum was reproduced to match some found under layers of wallpaper and paint. Some of the furniture in the home is original to the Manship family.
The home was purchased in 1975 by the State of Mississippi. However, until that time members of the Manship family inhabited the home. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History painstakingly restored the home by using photographs, letters, diaries and recollections of the family members.
There are many events held at the Manship House Museum throughout the year. Children's school groups can learn about the family history, see what life was like in the nineteenth century through demonstrations and make Victorian Christmas crafts. Adults may be intrigued by the mourning process of the Victorian era.
To reach the Manship House Museum take I-55 to the Fortification Street exit. Go west of Fortification Street to Congress Street and turn right followed by an immediate left into the parking area. The tour begins in the Visitor Center which is adjacent to the home. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Groups may tour the house if a reservation is made. The address of the Manship House Museum is 420 East Fortification, Jackson, MS 39202.