The Union Recorder

February 3, 2011

Georgia turns 278 Saturday

Old Capital Museum to hold celebration

Sarah Beth Ariemma
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The fifth annual celebration of the founding of Georgia will be held at the Georgia’s Old Capital Museum Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The celebration marks the 278th birthday of Georgia and the day that General Oglethorpe and the first colonists of Georgia landed at Yamacraw Bluff.

“We’ll have the museum open for half-price admission all day as well as have a re-enactor [David Wells] dressed as [Gen. James] Oglethorpe to give quotes of firsthand experience that the original colonists experienced. The museum has been open since 2006, and this is our fifth year doing this,” said Museum Executive Director Amy Wright.

The museum, located on 201 E. Green St., is nestled on the ground floor of the old statehouse on the campus of Georgia Military College.

“Last year we welcomed over 200 visitors of all ages to the museum for this celebration, and we anticipate another big turn-out this year. Gen. Oglethorpe [David Wells] never fails to enthrall audiences with his personal accounts of the hardships and trials facing the early settlers,” said Wright via press release. “This is truly living history at its best.”

To heighten the experience, cake and other refreshments will be served.

Re-enactor Wells has been a lover of history for years. After he retired from the Air Force, he came to Milledgeville and began teaching Georgia history.

“I’ve always enjoyed acting on stage or singing in musicals. Basically, anything where I got to dress up and take on the role of someone else. When I had the opportunity to play Gen. James Oglethorpe a few years ago, I jumped on the chance,” Wells said.

The founding of Georgia remains, for him, a highly interesting topic. His quest for more knowledge about the subject and more opportunities to educate people never ends.

“The whole settlement of Georgia is fascinating. Everything that occurred with the colonists and silkworms is so interesting. I like to answer people’s questions while they visit the museum and help them to gain a deeper understanding of what happened,” Wells said.

Wright said she has always appreciated Wells’ re-enactments, and his talent helps to bring a unique quality to museum events.

“People have always been so enthusiastic. David Wells does such a great job teaching people of all ages and has such a clear understanding of the gravity of the settlement. This is an excellent opportunity for any student studying Georgia history,” Wright said.

For more information about Georgia Day, call (478) 453-1803.

“Come and support the museum,” said Wells. “This day is unique in the fact that it is the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, as well as Georgia’s birthday. Come out and see for yourself how Georgia began.”