By Michael Scott, JIA Director of Historic Resources
As Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum approaches its 2nd anniversary, we look back on a year filled with challenges but also see many success stories. On the eve of the 1st anniversary, plans to celebrate were interrupted with what turned out to be a health crisis that few, if any, had ever anticipated. While the COVID-19 pandemic did cause some disruption early on, the Mosaic Museum took a proactive approach to minimizing impact as safely as possible. Upon reopening our doors, visitors were greeted with increased sanitization of commonly touched surfaces, reduced capacity in the Gallery and on trolley tours to allow for social distancing and an increase in engaging outdoor programming. Because of this, Mosaic reopened earlier than many other spaces around the nation.
To welcome back visitors, new opportunities and programming was introduced. In coordination with the Authority’s Conservation Department, Ranger Walks to see the island’s active bald eagle nest now begin and end at Mosaic, allowing visitors to experience the museum as a launching point for both natural and cultural history. Additionally, for the first time, Hollybourne Cottage opened to the public for regular tours. Visitors are able to see the inside of the cottage while staff actively work to conserve, preserve, and restore portions of the home. Increasing guest access to the historic district, expanded tours are now in play on Jekyll’s famous red trolleys. While enjoying the fresh air, guests are able to ride thru the historic district and learn about the Island’s over 2000 years of history or take a deeper dive into the cottages that represent the gilded age experience of the Jekyll Island Club and its members. Continuing to facilitate the need for social distancing, exciting seasonal programming included Macabre Tales tour and the Holly Jolly Lights tour made the most of the 2020 holiday season. Finally, to help tell some lesser-known stories, the team kicked off a successful series of gallery exhibitions, telling powerful stories in a way that’s never done before.
As we move toward year three, Mosaic will continue to serve as the ambassador and hub for Jekyll Island’s natural and cultural history. By growing the museum’s place-based learning options and developing new opportunities for exploration, Mosaic will continue to make a visit to Jekyll Island a special event for everyone.
New spaces, places, and stories from the island’s history are under development, which will allow even more visitors to learn about the special role that Jekyll has played in the past and how that connects to the world today. Education is at the heart of any museum’s work, and the Mosaic will continue to serve as a space to reach the broadest range of visitors through its exhibitions, tours, programs, and special events.
If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to experience one of our unique cottage tours that begin at Mosaic, particularly the new Hollybourne Cottage tour, we encourage you to purchase a ticket online to take a peek inside and see years of preservation first-hand.