The Fort McAllister Historic State Park Museum is about to get bigger.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Fort McAllister have begun a collaborative effort to construct a new addition to the visitor center museum.
"We’ve been hoping for this since the first part of the museum was built," Park Director Danny Brown said. "We’re probably going to increase the museum by about a third."
The expansion will be 30 feet by 40 feet and Brown said the funding is coming from the park's pass funds, collected and dedicated last year. The money is DNR funding, collected by the park to be used to enhance the visitors’ experiences. In total, they have $350,000 to work with.
"The addition will provide an area dedicated to blockade commerce and blockade runners during the War Between the States – otherwise known as the Civil War – and Coastal Georgia," Brown explained. "The CSS Nashville will also be a main focus."
Brown said they expect the core of the museum to be finished by November and then the production of the exhibits will be bid out.
"There’s all sorts of exhibit firms out there," he said, noting the museum will have nine new exhibits on display after the expansion is complete. "I drew up the basic design and we hired a firm (Deem Loureiro, Inc. out of Grayson) and they’re taking my ideas and research and laying all that out. I’ve been working on this for the past six months."
Brown gave a general description of what visitors can expect to see as they walk around the nine new exhibits in the museum’s expansion:
"It’ll start off as the war begins and the economic ways of the time prior to the war, as well as what happened as the war began and how important cotton was. At the time, cotton was like oil today. Next, visitors will see how Lincoln set up a blockade on the southern ports. The bulk of the south’s commerce was with England and the bulk of items they needed also came from England, so the blockade really caused a problem. Then the exhibit goes into the CSS Nashville, the life as a runner, life on the ironclad and the Nashville wreck."
Once completed, the exhibit will be part of the 2011 Civil War celebration, marking the 150th anniversary of the war. To find out more, call the park office at 727-2339.