Article originally appeared in the Union Recorder. By Gil Pound.
One of Milledgeville’s historic landmarks has something new to add to its already significant list of distinctions.
Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion, located on the Georgia College campus, was recently named a “Distinctive Destination” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). The first home for heads of Georgia’s state government joins more than 100 historic sites around the country like The Hermitage in Tennessee that have received the distinction.
“It was certainly a very welcome surprise, and we are truly appreciative of the National Trust for recognizing the Mansion in this fashion,” said Matt Davis, Georgia College director of historic museums. “We hope that it will help promote not only the museum but Milledgeville as a whole to the nation at large and bring some visitors to our community.”
The National Trust, a privately funded nonprofit organization whose goal it is to save America’s historic places, defines its Distinctive Destinations as, “a group of diverse historic sites across the country that help illustrate the breadth and depth of the American story.”
These destinations around the country, now including Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion, offer perks to paying NTHP members. Davis said members visiting the Mansion will receive a 10 percent discount at the museum store and are admitted for tours at the senior rate of $7.
This latest distinction is hardly the first for the for the site that started as the home to Georgia’s governors and later became the founding building for Georgia College.
“We are a National Historic Landmark, which is a designation that fewer than 3 percent of historical sites across the nation maintain,” said Davis. “We’re a fully-accredited museum of the American Alliance of Museums. We’re one of only 15 museums in the state of Georgia with this designation. We’re also the ninth affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in the state of Georgia.”
To receive the Distinctive Destination recognition Mansion officials submitted an application to the National Trust which was then reviewed and eventually approved. Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion was designed by Irish immigrant and architect Charles Cluskey. It served as the home for Georgia’s governors for more than 30 years and was Gen. William T. Sherman’s headquarters in November 1984. The Mansion sat abandoned after Atlanta was made the state capital following the Civil War until 1889 when it became the founding building of Georgia College, which at the time was known as Georgia Normal & Industrial College. It received its National Historic Landmark designation in 1973 and now serves as a museum offering tours of the grounds.
Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion has a number of special exhibitions and programs both ongoing and upcoming. To see the full list, visit www.gcsu.edu/mansion/upcoming-events.
The Mansion is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays with the last tour beginning at 4 each day.