Establishment of a Heritage Garden has turned a currently under-utilized portion of the park into an outdoor classroom, available for school groups as well as adult education classes year-round. Funded through the National Park Service Parks as Classrooms® program, the Heritage Garden is based on the typical Victorian-era kitchen garden, flower beds, and traditional commodities grown on 19th-century southern farms. The opportunity to present the life of the average civilian during the Civil War - the hardships faced, their ingenuity, and how they cared for their family - encourages visitors to establish a tangible connection to this by-gone era, and more importantly, provides the opportunity for those who visit to learn by experience through hands-on interpretive and educational programs.
The garden was planned and developed through partnership with the Warren County Mississippi Master Gardeners, who, along with park staff, provide in-kind labor, interpretation, educational workshops, and garden materials. Master Gardener programs exist across the country, and are comprised of volunteer educators trained by Land Grant Agriculture Universities to assist in providing information to the public about home gardening. The Warren County Master Gardener program is supported through the Extension Service of Mississippi State University, and this partnership will allow the garden to remain viable for many years to come.
The Heritage Garden provides an opportunity for the audience to learn about key park themes as well as providing an outdoor classroom. As a part of Let's Move Outside initiative, students will not only get a chance to be active while outdoors, but they develop a greater relationship with their food sources through gardening. By creating an immersive experience the students and visitors gain a chance to physically interact with the resource, thus establishing a sense of ownership.
Additionally, the garden provides an outdoor classroom for social studies and biological sciences, and will more effectively engage students in hands-on learning not only pertaining to the civilian folkways and hardships but also the concept of soil and water management, heirloom plantings and 'green' gardening methods through composting and traditional pest control management practiced in the Victorian era.
The garden is located on Pemberton Avenue approximately one mile from the main entrance along the park tour road. Situated in front of the Old Administration Building, the garden was created on an idle, grassed island surrounded by the structure's circular drive. The site is open to visitors during regular park hours (entrance fees apply), and can be entered through pedestrian gates (ADA-accessible) located at either end of the garden.
Parks as Classrooms Program®
Did You Know?
Vicksburg National Cemetery is the largest internment of Civil War dead in the nation. It is the burial place for nearly 17,000 Union soldiers.