Discover Middle Georgia: Georgia State Cotton Museum
VIENNA, Georgia. (41NBC/WMGT) – The Georgia State Cotton Museum is located in a small, Middle Georgia city known for its cotton production.
Georgia has a long history with cotton, and much of that history still remains in Dooly County.
“Georgia is the second, only behind Texas, in the growth of Cotton. Dooly County is the number one cotton producing county in Georgia,” says Earl Collier, Host at the Georgia State Cotton Museum.
The Georgia State Cotton Museum is like a time-capsule of the past.
The building itself dates back to 1879, built as a one room school house. It was later transformed into a farm house and given to the city of Vienna in 1993. Three years later, the Georgia State Cotton Museum opened to the public.
Of course, the main focus is cotton, but there’s an underlying sense of the bonded community that it takes to harvest the crop.
When visitors come in, Collier tells the story of cotton and life in rural Georgia, as he remembers from a kid growing up in the small towns of Dooly and Crisp county.
Collier explains how cotton is planted, grown and harvested – from the days of slavery to Eli Whitney’s invention of the Cotton Gin, and how growers overcame the “evil boll weevil”.
He details the hard work of local farmers, many of which have contributed artifacts in the museum today.
The museum features an original bail of cotton wrapped in burlap, an old plow and scale, and two slave documents, which date back well over 100 years.
“Cotton is in everything, from dynamite to toothpaste to mayonnaise. Cotton seed oil is the number one vegetable oil. So it’s not only the fiber of cotton, but the seed. Every bit of cotton is used except the stalk,” says Collier.
While touring the museum, visitors have the opportunity to literally touch history by separating the seeds from the fiber.
When you depart the museum, though, there will be no sense of division.
After soaking up the history of “white gold” and listening to Earl Collier’s stories, you’ll feel the power of a small town’s welcome and dedication to the community.
The Georgia State Cotton Museum is open Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.