The face of McDuffie County history will soon begin to change. After a meeting between the county's varied historic groups and tourism officials, there is a movement stirring to better organize and the area's rich history.
As first reported in the The McDuffie Mirror, officials from the Wrightsboro Foundation, the McDuffie Museum Board, the Tourism Board, the City of Thomson, county and state officials met at the Depot on March 29 to discuss the state of the county's historical resources.
"There's so many different organizations out there working, and the meeting was just to insure that we start trying to pull them together as we try to market heritage tourism," said Don Powers, Forward McDuffie executive director. "We want the Tourism group to kind of be an umbrella for outside people who are looking for things in McDuffie County that would bring them here."
With Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue's recent focus on heritage tourism, those present thought it imperative that McDuffie County ramp up its once hefty historical resume.
"Now we hang our hat on other things, but we still have people visiting for these reasons," Mr. Powers said during the meeting.
Representatives from each council gave updates on projects and group participation. While the museum is moving forward slowly, people are getting more interested in the Wrightsboro Foundation.
The group discussed working together and possibly creating a council with members from each group that would be responsible for making sure all of the county's history is preserved and available to the public. The new group could also make sure services are provided in the most efficient manner without duplication.
"I think it's a good first step forward," said Tourism Board Chairman Tommy Samuels. "I thought it was an excellent meeting. It brought us all together and gave an awareness to what we have, and got everybody on the same page to try and promote those assets that we have."
The group decided that getting the museum up and running is the first priority. To do that, individuals will begin to collect artifacts and memorabilia from around the county.
The group also discussed the possibility of a tour of sites that could use the Tourism Department as its central contact.
"There's a lot of things we have that we could package and sell right now," said Museum Board Member Epp Wilson in reference to Wrightsboro and several historic houses in the county.
But according to Mr. Powers, the tour is on the back burner while attention is focused on the museum.
The next meeting of historical groups has not been set, but Mr. Powers said they are sure to continue meeting to maintain what was started during last week's initial discussions.