Retirements shook up the Midway Museum’s leadership in October, but the group has re-organized and is moving forward, according to Tina Eberlein, chairwoman of the museum’s board of governors.
The museum re-opened Dec. 1 after a two-month hiatus following the retirement of long-time curators Joann Clark and Dianne Clark Behrens. Since then, Diane Kroell, the new executive director has gotten the museum up and running again, Eberlein told about 35 Richmond Hill Rotarians on Thursday during the club’s weekly lunch meeting at the Richmond Hill City Center.
Kroell will assume the responsibilities of the curators and will run the museum, Eberlein said. An interior designer with experience in preservation and history, Kroell was a former volunteer at the Midway Museum.
“[She was a] hard working volunteer,” the chairwoman said.
Operations since the re-opening have been going “very well,” Eberlein said.
Three new members also were appointed to the museum’s 10-person board, and Eberlein was appointed chairwoman. The board is still getting on track and is looking for new members, sponsors and volunteers, Eberlein said.
During the meeting, the new chairwoman talked about the history of Midway, including the church cemetery, and showed pictures of some exhibits in the museum, which was built in 1954 in the same style of the cottage homes built in the 1700s.
The slides included pictures of artifacts in the Garden Room, which houses an exhibit from the Rev. Charles Colcock Jones’ family — one of the first families to live in Midway. The display includes quilts and artifacts from the colonial era, all “in a pristine state,” Eberlein said.
The Jones family left Midway for New Orleans after the Civil War. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005, Jones’ great-great-grandson, Robert Seago, contacted the Midway Museum. He had his family’s artifacts and wanted to give them to the museum for safe keeping, Eberlein said.
The artifacts are in cases and the display is open to the public. Seago still needs to approve the exhibit before the museum can host an official exhibit opening, Eberlein added.
The board is also taking bids to move the Mills House, on the corner of Oglethorpe Highway and Memorial Drive in Hinesville, Eberlein told Rotarians. The house, donated to the Midway Museum by owners Jay and Joel Osteen in April, is supposed to move to the same property as the museum to help preserve the historical structure.
“We’re really excited about this,” she said.
It will cost about $75,000 to move the house, Eberlein said. The board is still receiving bids on cost estimates to clear the land and lay the foundation for the house. She did not have a time line on when the house will finally be moved to the Midway Museum’s property.
The Midway Museum can host teas, fundraisers and weddings. It is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.