Discovery Museum lays out the history from Native Americans to present
Story and photos by Lynn Hobbs
Wandering around the Lake Country Discovery Museum on a recent warm summer afternoon turned out to be as relaxing and enjoyable to me as a beautiful, calm day out on the lake. I was the only visitor there at the time, and the museum’s ambience was quite welcoming and serene.
Housed in the northern side of the BankSouth building on Hwy. 44 near Linger Longer Road, the museum has its own entrance that is easily accessible from the Hwy. 44 side of the parking lot. The double doors are accessed via stairs or a handicap ramp. The walls of the long hallway inside are adorned with framed pictures of earlier times in the area.
The museum, which opened in 2016, features 3,500 square feet of historical exhibits depicting local aspects of Native American culture; the American Revolution, Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction periods; the Great Depression and World War I; and, of course, the building of the Sinclair and Wallace dams and Lake Oconee reservoir. Tours are self-guided and admission is free.
In addition to the exhibits, there are several large digital screens that bring the information to life. They include:
Charming and humorous oral histories told by some of Greene County’s most endearing residents: Mrs. Carolyn Reynolds Parker, Hattie Mae Miller, and Walter “Pep” Stone. It’s incredible to hear first-hand stories, relayed with unmistakable Southern accents. I grew up in Georgia, so hearing them took me back to my childhood days, reminiscent of times with great-grandparents and other elderly family members. It really is a true treasure, as its name says.
It Began with a River
This video projected on a wall is a documentary by Georgia Power about the building of Wallace Dam and Lake Oconee reservoir. In conjunction with the lake theme, a wall mural of the lake along with several Adirondack chairs and deck decor make the visitor feel as if viewing the informative documentary on a dock.
Explore Georgia’s Lake Country
Set up in an area that resembles a bar cafe, this feature allows the visitor to explore the area via a touchscreen that includes topics such as schools, medical practices, recreation, activities, cities, etc. This section also provides the guest WiFi service information for those who want to do additional exploring on their own devices.
Hunter’s Drug Store & Citizen Union Bank
Reminiscent of bygone days in downtown Greensboro, this digital screen is actually the window to what appears to be the original door of an old business. It features a slideshow of pictures from special events and attractions in the area. (pictured above in the first photo with this story)
Tour of Homes and Lifestyles
Just what it says! Beautiful places and people, old and contemporary.
That’s the title I gave this screen, the largest of them all. It features digital slideshows of hundreds of photos contributed by local photographers or organizations. The pictures are divided into categories, and the visitor can select which category they’d like to see, or just stand there and watch them all.
Not to be missed is the 8-by-10-foot scale textured map of Lake Oconee and the surrounding countryside and communities, as well as an art gallery, and historical artifacts display. The lake’s many recreation activities also are highlighted.
I wished I had more time and will definitely return to browse through books by local authors that are on loan to the museum by the Georgia Writers Museum. There are numerous comfortable seating accommodations scattered throughout the museum to accommodate that opportunity.
An unexpected, pleasant component of the museum was tiny brass plates on random walls that had lake-themed quotations from renowned poets and writers of the 1700s to 1900s as well as a Bible verse.
Lake Oconee Discovery Museum is located at 5340 Lake Oconee Parkway, Greensboro.
Hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, closed Sunday.
The phone number is 706-453-2943.
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This story appeared in Lakelife magazine, Volume 17, Issue 4 and is the property of Smith Communications, Inc. No portions of the story or photos may be copied or used without written consent from the publisher.