Georgia’s Old Capital Museum Society (GOCMS) is working to bring the historic train depot on the former Central State Hospital campus to life as a regional cultural center. You may not see trains arriving at the old train depot again, but in the future, you will see many visitors meandering through time. Dr. Amy Wright, the Executive Director, is working with the GOCMS Board of Trustees to spearhead one of the largest historical renovation projects in our area. Her love for history and her hometown have helped bring the Museum Society offices to “The Just Imagine Cottage.” The Society’s next goal is the renovation of the historic train depot across the street.
Dr. Wright joined the GOCMS Board of Trustees to be a part of preserving history. After five generations of her family living and growing up here and being vested in the community, combined with her teaching career in art history and consulting work, being a part of the museum utilized the perfect blend of her talents and passion. In 2009 when the executive director resigned she was asked to fill the position. She only planned to work as the executive director for two years, and now nine years later she is still doing fantastic work for our community.
Milledgeville’s Hidden Gem
If you are new to town like me, or maybe you never go too far past downtown Milly, you will want to learn more about this hidden gem of our city. In 1999, as part of the renovation of the Old Capitol Building (OCB), Gen. Peter Boylan, President of GMC, invited the Baldwin 2000 group to build out the ground floor of the Old Capitol Building for a museum of regional history. The Group accepted Gen. Boylan’s invitation and opened their first exhibit in the OCB in 2001. Over the next five years, the Old Capital Museum Society constructed ten galleries of exhibits until the museum was completed in 2006.
Volunteer docents hosted school groups private groups, and visitors from Australia, New Zealand, China, and many other amazing places. In 2017 Georgia Military College needed the space the Museum occupied for additional classrooms. The GOCMS Trustees, Dr. Wright, and Sally Holmes, the Museum Manager went on a daunting search for a new home for the Museum.
Searching For A New Home
After looking over thirty-one options they were discouraged, but Mike Couch, Executive Director of the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority, contacted them with the perfect home for the Museum. He offered them the old train depot on the former CSH campus built in 1891 and suggested the cottage across the street to use as a temporary home for the Georgia’s Old Capital Museum offices. The old train depot is on the National Historic Register of Historic Places, making this the perfect place for community, culture, and history to come together!
In April of 2017, Georgia’s Old Capital Museum Society moved into their new home in “The Just Imagine Cottage” while renovation begins this September on the old train depot! The GOCMS has an ambitious three-phase plan.
Three Phase Renovation Plan
Phase one included renovating and moving into “The Just Imagine Cottage.” Phase Two and Three involve renovating the train depot into cultural center including a 200 seat theatre, museum of regional history, educational center, and performing arts venue. The offices will move from “The Just Imagine Cottage” to the train depot, to be known as “The Depot.” You will be able to enjoy a café, bookstore and gift shop with works from Georgia authors, artists, and products at the completion of The Depot.
After the offices move to The Depot, the “Just Imagine Cottage” will become a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) educational center for after-school and summer programs for middle school and high school students.
Support Georgia’s Old Capital Museum
What Georgia’s Old Capital Museum Society has accomplished so far is awe-inspiring, because they depend on donations, grants, and memberships to support their project. They host many fundraisers throughout the year to support and sustain their operation and this project.
The most recent fundraiser was a concert and dance, “Team Up With The TAMS.” The Tams is a popular African-American group out of Atlanta, playing music from 60’s, 70’s, & the 80’s. Dr. Wright and her husband went to college in Atlanta and knew members of the original group. This was a successful fundraiser to support the Phase Two renovation of the old train depot.
Dr. Wright shared what she wants the community to know about the Old Capital Museum. “We have launched a multifaceted project to promote History, Education, Art and Culture, Historic Preservation, and Economic Development (Tourism & Jobs) in our community.
First, the GOCMS is building p the revenue streams like the Theatre/Venue Space, a café and the bookstore. The Theatre/ Venue Space will host weddings and receptions, dances, recitals as well as theatrical performances. The café will serve breakfast and lunch with catering available in the evenings.
These revenue streams will support the construction of the exhibits for the regional history museum.”
You can participate in the upcoming events to support GOCM:
“War Comes To The Capital” Tours:
During the school year, they have “War comes to the Capital” Tours at the Brown-Stetson-Sanford House Museum located in downtown Milledgeville. Volunteers come in and demonstrate activities that would be happening in homes in Milledgeville during the Civil War.
The tour guides you from room to room to watch the different activities. Packing a haversack, herbs are grown in the garden and the medicinal uses, ladies knitting, crocheting & quilting, talk with a widow about the status of a widow and mourning customs, letter writer difficulties because the South didn’t have a postal system.
1 1/2 Hours tour ~ Tours are conducted by reservation only.
Click here to learn more about Gerogia’s Old Captial Museum and the upcoming events!