Small Market Meetings

JUL 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 35 of 45 Venue Showcase 34 By Kristy Alpert W hen the Sisters of Mercy first came to Vicksburg in 1860, they did so with a mission to help the commu- nity by opening a school and convent that would act as a gathering point for the residents of their new home in Mississippi. The nuns set to work immediately creating spaces for gathering and learning, unaware that just one year later, a civil war would break out and change their new convent's history forever. Already set up with a mission to enrich the community, the convent soon became the place soldiers came to seek medical care and atten- tion, and the nuns spent the next four years nursing the sick and tend- ing the wounded soldiers. Centuries later, it would be the sisters' good- natured role in the Civil War that landed their building on the National Register of Historic Places. After the war, the nuns continued to educate children in the halls until 1991, when they relocated the school and convent. The five buildings of the convent — the Cobb House, circa 1830; the Sisters of Mercy Convent, 1868; the Auditorium, 1885; the Academy Building, 1937; and the O'Beirne Gymnasium, 1955 — sat unused for only a few years before the city of Vicksburg purchased the property and established it as the leading cultural center in the region. Today, the Southern Cultural Heritage Center (SCHC) offers cultural education and artistic enrichment to residents and tourists with programs, work- shops and cultural events. The SCHC still holds a special place in the heart of locals, many of whom attended Catholic school in the building before it was converted into a center for meetings, events and special programing. An area that once housed writing desks and lesson boards is now a multipurpose space for gathering and holding meetings. Today, the center rents out the auditorium, a convent building that includes a chapel and two large parlor rooms, a beautiful courtyard for outdoor events and many classrooms for everything from receptions and performances to diverse community educational and recreational activities. LOCATION Vicksburg, Mississippi TYPE OF VENUE Off-site, cultural center CAPACITY 400 NEARBY ACCOMMODATIONS Hampton Inn and Suites Vicksburg CONTACT INFO 601-631-2997 Southern Cultural Heritage Center The South on Display

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