Walt's Look Around: Drapery Shirt - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Drapery Shirt

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I am a history buff. So I am almost mesmerized by the most recent (2009) restoration of the Old Capitol building in Jackson, taking the exterior back to what it looked like when the building was new prior to the Civil War.

And some of the artifacts that had been on display years ago are returning to the permanent collection inside the building.   A shirt used to be on display, and it was made from material taken from the Old Capitol when it was the NEW Capitol during the Civil War by a Union soldier. 

"I believe, a West Virginia soldier in 1863, when Jackson was captured the first time, took some draperies from the building, had a tailor in army sew it into a shirt," said Old Capitol Museum Director Clay Williams. 

It may seem like a trifling little story that goes along with the big events that were happening in Jackson 150 years ago this year, but to me, history is made from just such little stories.  

Now, jump forward to today. The original shirt is now 150 years old plus the age of the drapes to begin with and it's too fragile to display anymore.

But instead of losing that story altogether, Jo Miles Sealy, who works at Archives and History, and is a home-sewer, was asked to try to reproduce the aging shirt so the reproduction could be put on display.

And she did, on a voluntary basis on her own time for free. It was a task that had its challenges.

"Home sewers these days, what they'll do, they will go out and buy a pattern," said Sealy. "So they lay it down on the fabric. They have instructions that tell them what to do, when. Well what I had to do was use the original as my pattern and my instructions."  

Interesting to me, the material Jo Miles Sealy used for the replica shirt was from the new material chosen for the Senate Chamber drapes in the 2009 restoration of the Old Capitol Building.

Guess where they got the pattern for THAT material back in 2009? From the old shirt cut and sewn from the original drapes hanging there150 years ago.  

As someone said, history doesn't necessarily repeat itself, but it rhymes.

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