Jefferson Davis Presidential Library
The Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum has the purpose of preserving, housing and making available the papers, records, artifacts and other historical materials of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis. Despite its name it is not an official Presidential Library, as Davis was never President of the United States. It is, however, supported by the State of Mississippi, as declared on a plaque at the entrance.
The library is located at 2244 Beach Boulevard in Biloxi, Mississippi, on the 51-acre (21 ha) grounds of Davis last home, Beauvoir. The facility was officially opened and dedicated in 1998 by the State of Mississippi. Besides the library, the site includes the house, containing many of the furnishings from the time of Davis, the Confederate Museum, and the cemetery of Confederate graves.
On August 29, 2005, the facility suffered heavy damage from the fierce wind and water of Hurricane Katrina. The library pavilion, the Hayes cottage, Soldier's Home Barracks replica, Confederate Soldier's Museum, gift shop, and the director's home were totally destroyed. Artifacts were photographed, inventoried, boxed and placed in environmental storage while conservation of the items and the house furniture were under way. A bid of $4.1 million was taken on January 9, 2007, for the reconstruction of the facilities with a projected completion date of March 13, 2008.
The reconstruction of the home was completed in May 2008 (although minor interior restoration work still continues) and the site was officially reopened on June 3, the 200th anniversary of Davis' birth. Renovation of the former presidential library was deemed impossible and a completely new building has been constructed. To date, new exhibits and items that have been in storage are contually being added to the new library, which is now open to the public. The Bill Beckwith statue of Davis that once graced the rotunda of the library stands near the entrance, along with a new statue by noted Civil War artist Gary Casteel that was added in 2009.
- Fehrman, Craig (June 2, 2013). "Jefferson Davis' 'presidential' library". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
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