The Old Governor’s Mansion also served as a stage on which many elements of the complex social issues of the antebellum period were played out. Slavery and the complexity of society and gender roles are among the issues that shape the history of the building and are explored in tandem with the issues of politics.
During the Civil War, the Mansion was claimed as a "prize" in the "March to the Sea," when General William T. Sherman headquartered in the building on November 22, 1864. Following the war, Georgia's seat of government was relocated to Atlanta, and the Mansion was abandoned. Given over to Georgia Normal & Industrial College (currently known as Georgia College) in 1889, the Mansion served as the founding building of the institution and is the campus's most treasured structure.
Beginning in the late 1990s, an initiative was begun to return the Mansion to its antebellum splendor. Following five years of intensive historical, structural, and material research, the Old Governor's Mansion began its long awaited historic restoration in November of 2001. Funded through the Georgia General Assembly and a generous grant from the Woodruff Foundation, over three years of painstaking work has restored the original layout, colorations, lighting, and appearance of the building. The Old Governor's Mansion now serves as an 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) in order to make these objects available to the public for educational benefit. 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.
The Old Governor’s Mansion was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College & State University, 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, residential learning communities, study abroad and myriad internships.