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Old Governor’s Mansion director retires

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June 27, 2012

In historic grandeur the university community hosted a retirement reception this week for Jim Turner, director of the Old Governor’s Mansion at Georgia College, Jim Turner is retiring after serving 17 years restoring, furnishing and accrediting the Old Governor's Mansion.Jim Turner is retiring after serving 17 years restoring, furnishing and accrediting the Old Governor's celebrate his 17-year career at the mansion.

Students, faculty, staff and community members joined Turner in the mansion’s State Dining Room to reminisce and wish him farewell. His retirement is effective Friday.

“I will miss everyone I’ve worked with on campus and in our community,” said Turner, who began working at the mansion during 1995. “I’ve set out to do what the mansion required me to do. It’s time.”

As director, Turner was instrumental in the restoration and recent accreditation of the 1839 High Greek Revival mansion.

“I had three major goals for the mansion,” Turner said. “I wanted the house professionally and accurately restored, furnished and interpreted.”

Turner completed his mission earlier this year.

The American Association of Museums recognized the Old Governor’s Mansion as a national museum leader through the awarding of AAM Museum Accreditation.

The accreditation affirmed the museum meets National Standards and Best Practices for U.S. Museums and joins the community of institutions that hold themselves accountable to excellence: The White House, High Museum of Art in Atlanta and Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.

Following five years of intensive historical, structural and material research, the mansion began its historic restoration during November 2001, reopening during 2005.

Georgia College historian and history professor Dr. Bob Wilson congratulates Jim Turner on his service to the university.Georgia College historian and history professor Dr. Bob Wilson congratulates Jim Turner on his service to the university.“Jim is the consummate professional,” said Dr. Mark Pelton, associate vice president for extended university. “I’ve depended on him to oversee and guide the mansion through its restoration and accreditation projects. The results are proof he was the right person for the job.”

Turner has served as a leader and educator to his mansion staff.

Since the late 1990s, he has mentored the mansion’s current curator Matt Davis.

“Jim has guided me throughout my career,” said Davis. “I’ve benefited from his knowledge ever since I was just a tour guide for the mansion during my undergraduate studies at Georgia College. He has taught me about material culture and involved me in the mansion’s restoration, which has been a career project for me.”

Mansion gift shop manager Joy Norman worked with Turner during the past seven years.

Turner’s passion for history taught Norman to appreciate local history, she said.

“Jim is a close friend of mine,” said Norman. “I have learned the value of history in general, historical sites and Milledgeville by working with him. I’m going to miss him, but I’m glad I received the opportunity to work with a person who genuinely appreciates history and preserving it.”

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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