Posts Tagged ‘Dungeness Ruins’

Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum Better Than Ever

September 27th, 2017 by Mary

Cumberland Island Museum Entrance on Osborne Street

The Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum (CINS), which is located in the historic district of St. Marys, Georgia, reopened their doors in July 2017 after being closed for nearly nine months. Hurricane Matthew caused flooding to the park’s mainland museum in October 2016. Although there was minimal damage to the exhibits, the storm prompted a major overhaul of the entire first floor of the building. New and returning visitors are greeted with new flooring, reconfigured exhibits and new artifacts in the main gallery, plus the newly restored and expanded Carriage Room.

Painting of the Stafford Plantation

 

 

The museum showcases the island’s 4,000 years of human history which began with the Timucuan Indians and later included Spanish missionaries, British settlers, early American patriots and enslaved African Americans. When the industrial revolution swept the country, wealthy families like the Carnegies sought solace on the island both as land owners and vacationers. Now visitors to the museum will find wonderful treasures like the fully-restored statue of the god Mercury which once stood on the lawn at Plum Orchard, antique carriages, steamer trunks, fine china and period clothing, all belonging to the Carnegie family members who lived and played on their island paradise. One of the most influential female family members was Lucy Coleman Carnegie, wife of Thomas Carnegie – a strong woman who fought for women’s rights by choosing to enter through doors that read “Gentlemen Only”. One such barrier she broke through was at the New York Yacht Club, where she became the first female member in 1894. She commandeered her own steam yacht named “Dungeness”, which was usually moored at Cumberland Island. One of the family mansions on the island was also named “Dungeness”, the magnificent ruins of which still remain and are one of the main attractions for visitors to the island. 

Statue of Mercury originally stood at Plum Orchard

The other part of the main floor houses an exhibit about the War of 1812. One of the final battles of the war was fought in St. Marys at Point Peter. The exhibit goes into detail about that battle and the impact it had on the town. Visitors can watch a short film on how the battle played out.

The next phase of renovations to the museum will be in the back hallway. One wall will showcase hanging displays, the other will feature artwork. Seven pieces of art were recently sent off for restoration. Another piece that had originally hung in Plum Orchard and was originally slated to go back to the mansion after restoration will now likely be on display at the museum due to needing a climate-controlled environment.

A trip to the CINS is a delight for visitors to St. Marys who are planning a day trip or camping on Cumberland Island. It gives people a great sense of appreciation for the pioneers who settled on the island and gave us such a wonderful rich history that remains encapsulated on our neighboring Cumberland Island. Even if you have visited the museum in the past, it is a delight to return and see what’s new! The museum is open 7 days a week, from 1-4 pm, and admission is free for all.

Lucy Carnegie's Carriage

Lucy Carnegie’s Carriage

Gown worn by one the the Carnegie women, now on display in the Main Gallery.

Gown worn by one of the Carnegie women

Miniature of Plum Orchard Mansion 

Exhibits about Timucuan Indians

 

 

Cumberland Island Lands and Legacies Tour

August 8th, 2013 by Mary

After seven years of planning, The Lands & Legacies tour began August 2011 and has been a must do for Cumberland Island visitors ever since. This much sought after tour takes a limited number of people a day, 16 miles each way – that they would otherwise have to bike or walk, to the north end of this captivating island.  For $15/adult and $12/senior or child – in addition to the ferry fee, day-trippers and campers the like are able to tour historic sites such as, the extravagant Plum Orchard Mansion, the First African Baptist Church (where John F. Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette were married) and learn about the wilderness and wildlife that live and grow on the island, as well as its intricate human history.

Your tour begins shortly after an enjoyable 45-minute ferry ride on the Cumberland Queen leaving from the St Marys waterfront at 9am and arriving to the Sea Camp dock, the second dock on Cumberland Island. This is where you will meet with your National Park Service ranger/tour guide and load onto a white, 10 passenger, air conditioned van. From there you will embark on a 5-6 hour journey on the rugged unpaved “Main Road”, awe struck with the islands never ending beauty. As your tour continues, be sure to keep an eye out for wild horses, hogs, turkeys and many other forms of wildlife that inhabit the island.

After breaking for lunch, your tour guide takes you through the enchanting Plum Orchard Mansion. Walk through those beautiful white, double doors and you are suddenly taken back to the early 1900’s – greeted by a room so warm and welcoming, you already feel at home. This 22,000 square foot mansion is southern comfort at its best. From dining room to bedrooms and basement to indoor pool, you won’t want to miss a beat.

As the Cumberland Island van tour draws to an end, you are taken back to the Sea Camp dock. If the tour ends early enough, you then have an opportunity to venture to the beach for the remainder of your day on the island or just a mile down the road to Dungeness. Dungeness was another Carnegie mansion, it was burned to the ground in 1959, but the ruins and grounds are just as eye catching. The brick chimneys and stone skeleton still stands as a glimpse into the past of the grandeur that once was Dungeness. Just a short walk away is the Dungeness Dock, where you will catch your 4:45pm ferry back to the St. Marys waterfront – don’t miss the ferry because that’s the last one until morning.

Taking the Lands & Legacies Tour is just one way to experience Cumberland Island National Seashore and its vast natural beauty and history. If you are interested in exploring the island by foot or van tour, reservations are strongly recommended – to make a reservation call 912-882-4335, Monday – Friday between the hours of 10am – 4pm. For more information on Cumberland Island, camping, and tours please visit: www.nps.gov/cuis

 

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