Mansion cleanup underwayThe Governor’s Mansion is undergoing a regularly-scheduled construction project designed to preserve the exterior structure while maintaining the building’s original appearance.
“We are not doing a restoration project, but a conservation project of the exterior of the mansion,” mansion curator Matthew Davis said. “We have to do a process every 10-15 years where a limewashing is done to clean the stucco, repair patches and recolor the stucco to make sure that we are going to keep the building in pristine condition as part of our whole conservation plan.”
In addition to general repair of the stucco, the woodwork and shutters are going to be repainted. The conservation project is expected to last 10 weeks, and the scaffolds will come down in mid-November.
The construction work that will not change the appearance of the mansion.
“This is the historic colorization of the building,” Davis said. “It is simply the repair and conservation of what is already existing.”
Almost 80 percent of the original historic stucco is remaining, so conservation work is necessary for the upkeep of the building.
“Anything that we can do to preserve the site is going to benefit not only the campus as we are a living, learning environment and a resource that students use, but also the greater area.” Davis said. “We’re a tourism destination, and any project geared to maintain the site is going to be great for the economy.”
The mansion is one of 15 house museums in the stateb, and is a top tourism site for the area.
“I do think that making the town of Milledgeville prettier and making the mansion prettier will attract more tours,” Alex Patafio, junior mass communication major, said. “All the history buffs will actually stop and take a glance at the mansion instead of just using it as a landmark.”
The Governor’s Mansion was completed in 1839, and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
“It is an important part of the history here in the town and Georgia history in general,” junior biology major and worker in the museum gift shop Glen Ballard, said. “I feel that the renovations really help people in this town be proud of our history and keep it alive.”
Tours of the mansion are an excellent way to learn about Georgia history.
“I think it will get people more excited about history and let people understand that there is still a lot of history in this town that Georgia was built on” Ballard said. “This town, small as it is, is still important in the history of our state.”
The mansion will remain open throughout the conservation project. Public tours run Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Sunday afternoons from 2-4 p.m. Tours are free with a Bobcat card for all GC faculty, staff and students.
“We invite the student body, the faculty and staff and also the greater community as a whole to come see what we are doing with this project” Davis said. “It is going to be interesting to see the conservation work in action.”