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Decking halls of Old Governor’s Mansion

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November 29, 2011

“Antebellum Magic” continues to work its way through the Old Governor’s Mansion.

Holiday helpers are decking the halls, draping garland, dressing tables and donning Christmas trees with ornaments throughout the 173-year-old Greek Revival mansion in preparation for the holidays.

This year’s magic is a gingerbread replica of Dr. Harriett Whipple and volunteer Sherrill Jones put the finishing touches on chair decorations in the mansion.Dr. Harriett Whipple and volunteer Sherrill Jones put the finishing touches on chair decorations in the mansion.the mansion decorated for Christmas.
“It will have the exact outside Christmas decorations as the mansion,” said Jim Turner, mansion director. “The gingerbread house will greet visitors as they enter the mansion for the holiday tours.”

Volunteers are accenting the three-story mansion with fresh greenery, holly, boxwood wreaths, cedar, pinecones, magnolias and 50 poinsettias.

“We’re redoing each room to make it pop,” said Georgia College Professor Emerita of Biology Harriett Whipple. “We’re recycling old materials but in new ways.”

The 23-foot Christmas tree in the rotunda will come to life with 5,000 lights, including 1,500 candlelights, 3,000 glass icicles and 1,500 handmade ornaments.

Georgia College senior Emily Willis helped place the ornaments on the tree while other students manned the scaffolding to place the lights and top the tree with its star.

“Volunteering at the mansion is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and interpret Christmas through the eyes of the Old Governor’s Mansion,” Willis said.

Community volunteer Brenda Douglas has directed the tree decorating the past seven years.

“The 1850-inspired decorations are simply gorgeous,” Douglas said. “We have about 80 volunteer hours devoted to the tree alone. My favorite part is when I stand back and look and see so many different things.”

During the 2010 Christmas tours the mansion greeted 2,000 visitors.

“We’re anticipating that many visitors or more this year,” Turner said. “The mansion will be the place for our local and campus community to get into the Christmas spirit.”

The mansion is closed this week while holiday helpers work their magic. It re-opens Saturday, Dec. 3 to debut its holiday décor and offer regular tours through Dec. 23.

On Dec. 10, 13 and 17 the mansion will shine throughout the night with candlelight tours featuring traditional holiday music: Sweet Adelines on Saturday, Dec. 10; Georgia College Brass Ensemble on Tuesday Dec. 13; and The Milledgeville Singers Guild on Saturday, Dec. 17.

 “This year,” Turner said, “we’re presenting more ‘live’ greenery, Victorian décor and holiday music, offering a glimpse back in time that visitors will never forget.”

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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