Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dublin-Laurens County Museum, Dublin, GA

We’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled to some really great places – Versailles, Rome, Athens, Damascus, and now Dublin… Dublin, Georgia that is. All of the other places are in the states, too: Versailles, Kentucky; Rome, Georgia; Athens, Alabama; and, Damascus, Virginia. Thanksgiving this past year found us in the heart of Georgia for a family reunion and we found a little time to go Museum Junkin’.

Our travels took us to the Dublin-Laurens County Museum right in the center of downtown Dublin. The museum is operated by the Laurens County Historical Society. The Historical Society was founded in 1967. The museum is housed in an old library, a Carnegie Library. Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie donated money so than communities (and at time universities) could build libraries. There are almost 1,700 such libraries in the United States, built between 1883 and 1929. Dublin’s library was built in 1903 and 1904.

There are numerous exhibits within the spacious interior of the museum. There is information on early inhabitants, Native Americans, and on local Confederate soldiers. The docent on duty gave us a brief history of the library, and its life as a museum. As is often the case with older buildings, this one was undergoing repairs, so one corner was off limits to visitors.

The Dublin-Laurens County Museum is located on 311 Academy Street. The museum is open in the afternoons and has a web site:
From a Historian’s point of view: Michael enjoyed seeing the seventeenth-century flintlock pistol found in an old chimney in Ireland. He does think that some of the displays could have been better labeled. As with many local history museums, a little less stuff and a little more history would have been nice.

From an Educator’s point of view: Elizabeth really liked the historic wedding dress, invitations, and other mementos as well as the many items from a local family’s sitting room. She also found the labeling hard to read, as the tags were often hand-labeled and faded. Also, many items were hard for younger visitors to see. This museum is not one we consider child friendly, as the docent did not seem at all happy at the sight of visitors under 21, and there was a distinct “hands-off” feel to the exhibits, though there were some great miniatures and historic toys that would interest younger guests, and the history of the library itself would be fascinating to most students as they compare this facility to the libraries they use.

From an eight year-old’s point of view: Though Nathaniel was a little frustrated by not being able to see everything well, he was fascinated by the display of lightning glass (the glass created when lightning strikes sand, as you may remember if you’ve seen Sweet Home Alabama!)