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University Partners with Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau to Present “Museum On Main”

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Georgia Southern University and the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau (SCVB) have teamed up for a “win-win” partnership to bring “Museum on Main” to life, highlighting Statesboro’s history for visitors and locals alike, and giving graduate students the opportunity to shine.

A collaboration between the SCVB, Georgia Southern Museum and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences’ Public History Program, the partnership allows students seeking a Master of Social Sciences and Master of Arts in history degree to earn an additional certificate of public history while completing their coursework. 

“We’ve had a great partnership with the SCVB for many years, but this takes it a step further,” said Brent Tharp, Ph.D., director of Georgia Southern Museum. “This will be a fairly unique partnership. The great thing is we’re providing the content, artifacts for the collection and our expertise in the exhibit, but the SCVB is providing us this beautiful space they’ve designed and renovated with this project in mind. In fact, they let our students work with the architect and allowed us to tell them the kinds of things we thought needed to be in the space. They’ll keep it open and operational. It allows our students to work on something that’s not theoretical, it’s practical.”

The Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau will open in its new location at 222 South Main Street on Tuesday, Sept. 16, and a large part of the new facility will feature  “Museum on Main,” an exhibit highlighting significant pieces of Bulloch County and Statesboro’s history. A 1920s turpentine wagon, originally purchased from W.C. Akins & Sons Hardware on East Main Street in Statesboro, will be the iconic artifact and permanent installation of the new exhibit.

“At Georgia Southern Museum, we’ve always had the Mosasaur as our iconic image, so that when people see that artifact, they know that it’s here and not anywhere else,” said Tharp. “We wanted to do the same thing at ‘Museum on Main.’ It really became quite clear that this piece probably ran up and down South Main Street for many years in the 1920s during the turpentine trade, bringing in materials, and it had only been purchased less than a mile away from the new SCVB location.”

Other artifacts will include an original, restored studio chair used at Rustin Photography Studio in 1908, as well as old photographs of Statesboro families pictured in the chair from around 1910 to 1914.

Students in Tharp’s Introduction to Museum Studies seminar class developed the concept for items to be displayed in the exhibit, and each year, his students will have the opportunity to update the space with new material. 

“It should be a really dynamic space. It’s essentially a lab for the public history students to continue to do their work. We may focus on a particular person, group or theme on Bulloch county, Statesboro and south Georgia history in that gallery space,” he said.

Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau will be open to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 17, Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  There is no admission fee to visit “Museum on Main.”

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