The Jekyll Island Museum will soon have a temporary home in the historic district’s old infirmary building, so the old stables can be officially transformed into MOSAiC, the new vision for the museum.
The Jekyll Island Authority preservation team is preparing the old infirmary for the temporary assignment, which will be another in a long line of uses throughout its history.
In addition to other work being done, the building, also known as Furness Cottage, 101 Old Plantation Rd., is being made level after settling over the years. The team will also repair windows and trim and work on the inside which will be used as museum space.
The Old Infirmary served many functions — first as a cottage for prominent architect Walter Rogers Furness, later as the winter home of Joseph Pulitzer, then as the Jekyll Island Club Infirmary. Most recently, it was home to locally-owned Jekyll Island Books.
“Over the next few weeks, most of the changes will be external,” said Taylor Davis of the Jekyll preservation team. “We’ve stabilized the foundation and are repainting the outside in the historic blue. Internally, we’ll be adding modern conveniences like ethernet access.”
The idea is to transform the cottage into a functioning facility while maintaining its historical integrity.
“Given the dynamic use of the cottage, it’s fitting that it should now be the temporary home of the Jekyll Island Museum,” said Bruce Piatek, director of historic resources for the Jekyll Island Authority.
Construction on the new MOSAiC museum is expected to begin this winter with an anticipated completion and opening date in early 2019.
“We’re excited for construction to begin on the new MOSAiC this winter,” said Piatek. “The new space will include fully air conditioned display space for artifacts, (pieces of) the island’s story that we’ve been unable to display without climate control. The new facilities will include exhibits for our conservation and history stories, as well as meeting and education space.”
Jekyll Island Foundation members and supporters surpassed fundraising goals for the Jekyll Island MOSAiC Museum project.
The Foundation closed out its campaign this past December, raising $20,000 over its $3.134 million goal for the purpose of re-imagining the museum.
The new museum will be housed in the same 1897 stable building as the old museum, which currently lacks modern conveniences such as air conditioning and heat for its guests and staff.
Dion Davis has said visitor feedback consistently described the exhibits as “static,” “stale” and “in a state of disrepair,” something that is supported by the fact that no substantial updates have occurred since installation at the current site in 1984.
After all the work is done, Jekyll Island MOSAiC will be climate-controlled with appropriate space to rotate through a cache of more than 20,000 artifacts on display and in storage.
The new museum will use the entire stable building and expand the current exhibit square footage to nearly 8,300 square feet.