Recently, I’ve been so curious about Milledgeville’s history. This city is full of Antebellum beauty and has been the site of many historic events. As I’ve continued digging for more history, I paid a visit to Georgia’s Old Capital Museum.
Many people do not know that Milledgeville was once Georgia’s capital, or that Georgia’s history dates all the way back to 10,000 B.C.! So in 1999, Georgia’s Antebellum Capitol Museum Society was founded and a museum of regional history was opened on the ground floor of Milledgeville’s Old Capitol Building with Milledgeville’s largest collection of historical artifacts.
In 2017 Georgia’s Old Capitol Museum relocated to Central State Hospital’s campus and is transitioning to their new location, “Destination Depot: History, Art & Culture.” The Historic Trail Depot was built in 1891 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and encompasses approximately 13,000 sq. ft. on two levels. Today twenty percent of the building houses CSH documents and artifacts that are being catalogued for removal and storage. The remainder of the building is deteriorating with no water, heat or air conditioning. There is partial power.
Once renovated, this historic structure will be Georgia’s Old Capital Museum at The Depot. State-of-the-art interactive exhibits will chronicle Georgia and United States history-the thousands of years of Native American culture along the Oconee River, the rowdy life in Georgia’s last frontier capital, the antebellum period in Georgia when cotton was king, the tumultuous Civil War years, and the Reconstruction that followed. Two new galleries on the history of Central State Hospital and the African American community in Baldwin County will expand the visitor experience.
The Old Capital Museum is temporarily running out of the beautifully remodeled “Just Imagine Cottage” just across the parking lot. The Museum has launched the renovation of the central portion of the 100-year-old Depot for their permanent gallery and theatre space- soon we can get even more from this awesome place!
In addition to the museum, the Old Capital Historical Society joined forces with the Museum Society and together, they took ownership of the Brown-Stetson-Sanford House here in Milledgeville in 2003. The c. 1825 home was transformed into a museum which now reflects the previous owners of the home, Daniel and Edith Stetson. In 1857 the Stetsons bought the home that used to be an inn and renovated it into a family home, living there until 1880. Now, the home-turned-museum details what life was like during the antebellum period and the years of the Civil War all the way through the years that Milledgeville reconstructed after the war. The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau trolley tour brings visitors to the home for a guided tour on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Museum Society encourages people to visit the home for a richer understanding of Georgia’s history.
Hop on one of the trolley tours on Thursday, Friday or Saturday at 10 a.m. to see one of the Museum’s coolest places- The Brown-Stetson-Sanford House and support the Old Capital Museum by paying them a visit at 95 Depot Circle Drive.
Looking to support Georgia’s Old Capitol Museum? Plan on attending their annual “Moonlight” fundraiser on Saturday, April 14 featuring the Swingin’ Medallions! Doors open at 6pm. The event will be held at the Auditorium at the former CSH campus in Milledgeville. (Across the street from the Depot.) General Admission $35 (concert only), or $50 (concert + City Sampler Meal). Enjoy this fun evening with a group of friends. Tables of 6, 8 or 10 and event sponsorships are available for purchase. To purchase tickets, tables and sponsorships, go to: www.moonlightonthedepot.com.