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Old Governor’s Mansion prepares for holiday visitors

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POSTED: November 27, 2007
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Old Governor’s Mansion prepares for holiday visitors

large photo Decking the halls for the holidays has a much larger meaning at the Old Governor’s Mansion.

And the labor of love to trim the 169-year-old Greek Revival mansion requires as many hands and as many hours as volunteers are willing to give.

“I can’t think of a better way to escort in the holidays than decorating the mansion,” said GCSU professor emeritus of biology Harriett Whipple, who has been the decorating overseer for years. “A lot of people came tighter to do a lot of the things. And Georgia College students learn so much.”

Community volunteers and Georgia College students spent time draping stair and adorning mantles and tables with pine and cedar garland sprinkled with colorful dried flowers, stringing bright white lights and trimming the 19-foot Christmas tree with balls and icicle crystals in the keeping with this year’s theme, “Victorian Splendor.”

“This year we are decorating with an authentic 19th century theme,” said Matt Davis, assistant curator of education at the Old Governor’s Mansion. “The tree in the rotunda will be decorated with colorful, hand-made Victorian ornaments designed by Georgia College students and students in area schools.”

Sixth- and seventh-grade students attending Georgia College Early College will decorate an upstairs nursery to represent Christmas for an 1850’s child.
“They’ve been studying the period history and will decorate the room using authentic decorations,” Davis said.

The Old Governor’s Mansion is closed the week of Nov. 26 and tours suspended for the weeklong, decorating marathon in preparation for its holiday debut Dec. 1.

Throughout the week volunteers in groups of five will adorn the mansion with more than 1,000 yards of garland, hundreds of glittery balls, thousands of lights and candles and bushels of fruit.

“We couldn’t decorate without the help of our faithful volunteers and people in the community,” Davis said. “We’re very appreciative.”

In addition to daytime tours, the mansion will glow for three nights of candlelight tours on Dec. 8, 15 and 19. Guests will be treated to music filling the rotunda provided by the Milledgeville Singers, Bobcat Brass, First Baptist Hand Bell Choir and Sweet Adelines.

“It’s completely different this year,” Davis said. “And for those families who have made visiting the mansion a holiday tradition, they really want to see it this year.”

The Old Governor's Mansion was the home to eight of Georgia's governors from 1839 to 1868. Since 1889, the mansion has been part of Georgia College & State University. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973. The mansion re-opened in February 2005 following a $9 million restoration.



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For more information, contact Judy Bailey in University Communications at (478) 445-4477.