The Crawford W. Long Museum grand reopening will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Jan. 9.
A fundraising dinner and private guided tour will be held the same day, beginning at 6 p.m.
For more information about the events and the museum call 706-367-5307 or visit www.crawfordlong.org.
Nearly a year to the day, $200,000 and countless volunteer hours later and the Crawford W. Long Museum in Jefferson is ready for its grand reopening.
“We had to start with the exterior structural work first — the roof, brick and mortar and windows — before focusing on the interior,” said Vicki Starnes, museum staff. “We also updated the exhibits and lighting and rewired the buildings.”
Gone are the stark white exhibits, drab displays and dull lighting. All of those things have been given a modern twist that you would expect to find in major museums in larger cities.
“Before this renovation started, it had probably been 20 years or more since the last updates were made. A lot has changed over the years as far as the way a museum is set up and artifacts are displayed,” said Starnes.
“The artifacts aren’t new, but they way they are being showcased is.”
Now personal artifacts belonging to Long, the doctor credited with discovering the use of ether as an anesthesia for a painless surgery, are showcased in clear, Plexiglas displays floating around the main floor space of the museum. And the for the first time since the museum’s creation, the second floor of the structure will be open to visitors.
“The upstairs level will be dedicated to the history of anesthesia,” said Starnes.
“It will show how it has progressed from the ether on a rag that was used by (Long) to the modern machines that are used today.”
The doors to the museum on College Street will be thrown open for the public during the grand reopening from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Jan. 9.
“We will have complimentary hot chocolate and coffee and horse-drawn carriage rides through the historic district,” said Starnes.
“The first 100 visitors will also receive a commemorative watercolor (painting).”
Although the public hasn’t had the opportunity to take in the current improvements to the museum, staff are already setting their sights on additional updates.
“We would like to be able to raise enough money to add an audio tour,” said Starnes.
To kick off their fundraising efforts, the museum has teamed up with Fusion on the Square for a special event on the same day as the reopening.
“For $50, people can purchase a ticket and that includes dinner at Fusion and a private, guided tour in the museum,” said Starnes.
“There are two options — either a 6 o’clock dinner and the tour at 7:45 (p.m.) or a 6 o’clock tour and dinner at 7:45.”
Such community cooperation helped the museum’s staff stretch the $200,000 federal grant that was used to foot the bill for the renovations.
“There was a lot of structural work that had to be done, so there wasn’t a whole lot left over for interior exhibits,” said Starnes. “But fortunately, we had a lot of volunteers who helped out — for instance, one volunteer did the interior carpentry work while another built bases for the displays.”
According to museum staff, the goal of the renovations was not only to repair damage to the museum, but also to bring to life the local history that’s housed there.
“We have something for everyone, from the sprinters, to the strollers and the students,” said Starnes.
“There are people who will want to take their time and slowly stroll through and read everything little thing and then there are people who want to just get an overall idea.”