History of Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion
Completed in 1839, Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion is one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the nation with its stately columns and regal facade. From 1839 to 1868, this mansion served as the residence for eight of Georgia's chief executives and their families. State leaders such as George Crawford, Howell Cobb and Joseph E. Brown resided in the building and used it as a stage for politics and entertainment during Milledgeville’s capital years.
The Mansion's history encompasses the antebellum period, the Civil War, and the early Reconstruction phases of Georgia’s history. Georgia's Old Governor’s Mansion also exhibits many elements of the complex social, economic, and political issues during the antebellum period. Slavery and the intricacies of class and gender roles are among the topics that shape the history of the building as well as 19th century Milledgeville.
During the Civil War, the Mansion was claimed as a "prize" in General William T. Sherman’s "March to the Sea," on November 23, 1864. Following the war, Georgia's seat of government was relocated to Atlanta. In 1889, Georgia Normal & Industrial College (currently known as Georgia College) was giving stewardship of the Mansion and it became the founding building of the institution and is the campus's most treasured structure.
Beginning in the late 1990s, five years of intensive historical, structural, and material research was conducted on the building with the goal to return the mansion to its c1851 appearance. From 2001-2005, a $9.5 million dollar restoration was conducted which was funded by the Georgia General Assembly and a generous grant from the Woodruff Foundation. The restoration restored the original layout, colorations, and appearance of the building as it existed during the administration of Governor Howell Cobb in 1851.
Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion now serves as a historic house museum whose mission is to care for, collect, interpret and exhibit items (including artifacts, structures, and gardens) that illustrate the history of the site and its inhabitants during the years the Mansion was the official residence of Georgia’s governors (1839-1868). Tours focus on the history of the building, its occupants both free and enslaved, and the myriad complexities of Antebellum society in Georgia and its history.
Georgia's Old Governor’s Mansion was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973 and is an accredited museum of the American Alliance of Museums. In 2015, the Mansion was named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, one of six in the state today.
- 2018 Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries Institution of the Year
- Recipient of the 2005 Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Marguerite Williams Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation and the Excellence in Restoration Award.
- 2005 Build Georgia Award Recipient.
- 2005 Reconstruction Award - Building Design and Construction Magazine.
- Recipient of the 2005 Best of the Best Award from the International Association of Interior Designers.
- Recipient of the 2006 Georgia Historical Society Robert J. Warlick awards in exhibits and preservation.
- National Historic Landmark Building
- Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums
- Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution