Fall 2018 Mountain Traveler
Gold brings thousands of visitors every year to the beautiful mountain town of Dahlonega and the riches found there shape the history of the area.
That story has been told for decades right in the middle of the town at the historic 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse.
The museum, which originally opened as a state historic site in 1967, was using displays that had been in place for over 30 years.
But earlier this year, everything within the thick walls of the museum transformed into a modern, engaging experience.
When the renovation was nearly complete, Judd Smith, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Park Historian, said since the Gold Museum is one of the state's most visited historic sites, not to mention a "centerpiece of the Dahlonega tourism experience,” it was a high priority to receive upgrades.
New displays now invite history enthusiasts to see and hear how people lived during the gold rush era.
The museum features all new displays on two levels which tell the stories of the Native Americans who lived on the land before settlers.
Visitors learn how lots were divided and can see how the process was completed using real artifacts.
Other displays show how gold was discovered, mined, and turned into gold coins.
One of the most impressive new attractions at the museum is the 360-degree security-enhanced display showing an entire set of original Dahlonega Mint gold coins, among other rare coins.
Upstairs the interactive experience continues with the theater and many new displays designed to show how gold miners worked long, difficult days in the tunnels below Dahlonega to find the elusive ore.
Great attention was paid to renovating rooms to reflect how the building was used as a real courthouse through the mid-1960s.
There is even a hidden room which allows visitors to see where pieces of real gold are still embedded into the brick walls of the museum.
The renovation cost over $500,000, according to site manager Sam McDuffie, and was completed in time for summertime visitors.
The new design has brought a big-city museum look to the small-town historical attraction.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m.