Mississippi’s Old Capitol Museum Tour

Part 2. The Sculpture and Architecture on the Capitol Green

David Smitherman
4 min readJun 9, 2024

The Old Capitol grounds was once known as the Capitol Green and included land area for the Old Capitol building, the state fair, a fire department, and a hotel. Today the grounds include the Mississippi War Memorial building to the north of the Old Capitol Museum, and to the south, the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building, and a Confederate Monument.

The grounds of the Old Capitol Museum.

The Mississippi War Memorial

The Mississippi War Memorial was completed in 1940 in a beautiful Art Deco architectural style by E L Malvaney. The building presents a monumental entrance through a colonnade to a central courtyard with allegorical figures and motifs sculpted into the limestone facade.

The Mississippi War Memorial.

Edgar Lucian Malvaney, 1896 to 1970, was born in Jackson Mississippi and was educated at the Mississippi A & M University. He continued his studies in France after serving in the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War 1, and then in architecture at the Washington University in Saint Louis. He worked of Theodore Link, the architect for the Mississippi State Capitol building before opening his own firm in 1931.

The sculptures on each side of the entrance courtyard are by Albert Rieker depicting scenes from World War 1. On the left is a group of soldiers in front of an armored vehicle assisting a wounded soldier; and on the right appears to be a depiction of Mother Mississippi holding a Magnolia branch flanked by soldiers assisting the wounded and gathering supplies.

World War 1 sculptures by Albert Rieker.

Albert George Rieker, 1889 to 1959, was born in Eislingen Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1923. He became a sculptor in New Orleans Louisiana where he is noted for his public sculptures on display at the Louisiana State Capitol; and the City Hall, the First Baptist Church, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building

The Archives and History Building was built in 1983 and named after Charlotte Capers, 1913 to 1996, who was a long term employee and the Archives and History director from 1955 to 1966.

The Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building

Confederate Monument

In front of the Archives and History Building is a Confederate Monument built in 1891 and inscribed with the heading, “TO THE CONFEDERATE DEAD OF MISSISSIPPI”. It features a confederate soldier standing watch on top of an obelisk and a stature of Jefferson Davis inside a vault at the base of the monument. The soldier features the face of Governor John M Stone, a former colonel of the the Second Regiment, Mississippi Infantry, but the sculptor and artisans that created the monument are unidentified. Its construction was sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Mississippi State Legislature.

The Confederate Monument, and sculpture of Jefferson Davis.

A marker identifying the monument notes that when Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Governor John Pettus called a special session at the Old Capitol and passed an Ordinance of Secession, stating “our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.” This is important to note when you read inscriptions on other Confederate Monuments across the south that try to make the cause of the Civil War into something other than the preservation of slavery.

“…our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery…” Governor John Pettus, 1861.

There is land area to the right of the Confederate Monument that would seem more suitable for the Mississippi’s Women of the Confederacy monument than where it is now in front of the Mississippi State Capitol.

Travel Notes

Below is a Google satellite map showing the grounds with visitor parking behind the building on the east side of the museum. The visitor entrance is on the front side of the building under the portico facing west.

Google Maps view of the Old Capitol Museum grounds, and my travel route.

My travel route was part of a multi-day journey from my home in Huntsville Alabama to Jackson Mississippi to visit the Mississippi State Capitol and the Old Capitol Museum, then starting north of Jackson I traveled the Natchez Trace Parkway to Natchez Mississippi. I stayed at a Holiday Inn in both cities because they both had free overnight charging for electric vehicles. A nice perk at many hotels now.

Notes and References

Story and photographs by David Smitherman, with data collected from onsite inscriptions and brochures, Wikipedia, and Google Maps. Site visits were made in March 2024.



David Smitherman

Retired architect and space architect from NASA. Married with a growing family. Currently into travel, historical architecture, photography and genealogy.