By Taylor Davis, JIA Historic Preservationist
This past May, the Jekyll Island Authority, in partnership with the University of Georgia, hosted the 11th annual Historic Preservation Field School at the Georgia Coast Maymester. “Maymester” is a 3-credit-hour course which consists of a two-week long, intensive dive into historic preservation projects within the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District. The goal of the course is to give students hands-on experience through projects and to educate them about the history, landscape, culture, and architecture of the Georgia coast. This program also benefits the Jekyll Island Historic District through the students assisting with necessary preservation projects.
Maymester was conceived in 2009 by UGA professor Mark Reinberger, adjunct professor Tim Walsh, and me, a recent graduate of the Historic Preservation program at UGA. With the original focus on projects at Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation and in the historic south end of Brunswick, Jekyll has been the site of the Maymester course since 2017. Currently it is one of the longest running Maymester programs at UGA.
Through the years, projects and locations have varied. Students have tackled stabilization, documentation, and rehabilitation projects on many historic structures throughout Glynn County. One of the main project sites in the past was the Smith House in Brunswick, GA, circa 1867.
Student make-up for the field school is a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students from many different concentrations of study including historic preservation, architecture, landscape architecture, history, and even biology. The 2021 class consisted of 12 students from UGA and one student from Clemson University. This is the first year that the course was advertised outside of UGA, with the hope that it will be further reaching in the future – open to students from all over the southeastern United States.
With the large number of students this year, the team took on more projects than in previous years. The students assisted in historic window rehabilitation at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, exterior wall stabilization at Goodyear Cottage, scrapping and prepping elements of the rear porch at Mistletoe Cottage, replication of historic woodwork at Indian Mound Cottage, and the beginning phases of rehabilitation of the historic courtyard of the Chichota Cottage ruins.
Ongoing historic preservation efforts in Jekyll’s Historic District are made possible through visitation to the Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum and through donations to the Jekyll Island Foundation. So get involved and donate today!