The Midway Museum turns 50 this year. The anniversary celebration starts Dec. 8, and continues all week, culminating with the museum’s annual Christmas Tea on Saturday, Dec. 12.
The building’s architectural style was designed to replicate the typical raised-style cottage homes found around Sunbury and Riceboro in the 18th century and was designed by historical architecture, Thomas G. Little.
The museum houses historical records and documents chronicling the lives of Puritans who settled the area, making up the Midway Society until its last meeting in December 1865. It contains furnishings and photographs detailing colonial life and the famous people who lived in Midway, including Declaration of Independence signers Button Gwinnett and Lyman Hall.
Next weekend’s Christmas Tea will feature homemade cookies, coffee and tea around the fire in the old kitchen, reviving a Christmas tradition of days gone by. The entire house will be decorated for the holidays.
“We are busy working on decorating it this week,” Curator Dianne Behrens said. “And in addition to the tea and treats, we’ll have Jim Sawgrass and Pat Gunn telling their stories.”
Behrens said Sawgrass is a direct descendant of the Creek Indians who once lived along the coastal areas of Liberty County. He will set up a complete encampment displaying how the Indians lived during the 1600-1700s.
Gunn is from the Geechee Institute and will talk about the Gullah-Geechee culture and its influence in Coastal Georgia and the Lowcountry area.
Behrens said she is recruiting more interpreters to dress in authentic attire, and her friend Libby Oxenrider will talk about voodoo, legends and other folklore from the Midway community.
This year, the Midway Museum has been working on raising funds to house a collection of artifacts from Charles Colcock Jones’ family and descendants.
Jones owned three plantations in Midway and worked to evangelize the slaves. Many of the Jones’ family letters were documented in a book written by Robert Manson Myers in 1972 titled “The Children of Pride.” The book won a 1973 National Book Award.
“We’ve been busy fundraising so we can get the cases ready to house the Jones exhibit,” Behrens said.
The museum recently renovated the basement floor and Behrens said special measures must be taken to house the Jones collection, including temperature and humidity controls to preserve the rare documents.
The museum is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children.