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McDuffie Museum spotlights local history

Only six months and one day after its official opening, the McDuffie Museum's most-requested exhibit is on display.

The first phase of "Reflections: The History of McDuffie County" opened Saturday. Museum Director Jenny Lindsay said approximately 16 visitors saw the exhibit over the weekend, and "so far, everybody seemed to enjoy it. I received a lot of good feedback, and even some donations."

The McDuffie County historical exhibit is divided into categories. Phase One, which is what's on display now, includes communities, people, land and Wrightsboro. Phase Two, which will premier in October, will include churches, progress, industry, oral histories and local legends.

Ms. Lindsay said the exhibit gives info on each subject, as well as artifacts to look at.

"It gives people a chance to see something and spark their interest, giving them a starting point to do more historical research," she said. "That's what it's designed to do."

The "communities" section includes Thomson, Dearing, Cobbham, Raysville and Boneville. In the "people" section, visitors will learn about George McDuffie, Jay Edgar Thomson, Thomas Watson, Blind Willie McTell, Dr. William Marion Pitts and Rear Admiral Richard Hawes. Ms. Lindsay said she is working to add folk artists Jake McCord and Zebedee Armstrong, as well as Dr. Bob Gibson to the "people" category.

The "land" section includes local Indians, William Bartram, John Muir and the McDuffie County Goldmine.

Ms. Lindsay regretfully admitted that the "Wrightsboro" section was "really lacking."

"I'd love for people to donate or loan some," she said. "It'll be stored in a climate-controlled environment, cleaned regularly and properly taken care of. ... Wrightsboro is such a significant part of McDuffie County's history. It'll help preserve that history more because the artifacts will last longer if they're taken care of properly."

Artifacts that were "just so great, but really didn't fit any place in the exhibit" have their own special case that Ms. Lindsay calls the "curious case."

"What's good is we have enough things in the collection that we can rotate so people will see different things when they come at different times," Ms. Lindsay said, adding that a lot of items are on loan to the museum, and she'll probably rotate them on a monthly basis.

The smaller gallery has a new traveling exhibit on loan for the next six weeks from a local history collector. It contains war posters from World War I and World War II, a Japanese and German case with artifacts and weapons, and an American case.

"(The American case) has a symbol from a Nazi flag in it, but it's because some soldiers captured it when they overtook a camp, and they cut the flag up and signed it. There's a lot of people from Georgia on it."

Ms. Lindsay said she'd like to thank Mary Wells, Louisa Hickman, Epp Wilson, Lewis and Joan Smith, Mary Anne and George Coussons, "and everybody who has donated or loaned something. Without them, we would never be able to have the exhibit."

Located on Main Street in downtown Thomson, the museum is closed on Monday, opened from noon until 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday and 2-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.

Call 706-595-9923 for more information.

Web posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009

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