Historic Westville prepares to move from Lumpkin to Columbus

Historic Westville prepares to move from Lumpkin to Columbus

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Historic Westville, a living history museum dating back in the 1850's, will be moving to Columbus. This was announced by its leaders who say Westville is engaged in a $7 million capital campaign to fund the move of the historic village.

"Sharp decline in attendance over the past 20 years, with also the sharp decline in donations and other sources of revenue," said Executive Director Leo Goodsell, is why administrators are hoping to breathe new life into these historical buildings by moving to Columbus.

Directors add they are hopeful the village will add to the historical resources in the Valley.

"What I see us doing is coming and bringing sort of maybe, a fuller story, a context and definitely not competing with those sites, but building on each other's stories," said Director of Interpretation Savannah Grandey.

This announcement comes two years after the Columbus City Council approved the agreements to move Historic Westville from Lumpkin, GA to CSU's Oxbow Meadows. Nearly three-quarters of the funds have been gifted or pledged to meet the campaign goal.

"We are fortunate to have the support of Mayor Teresa Tomlinson as well as the city of Columbus, along with a warm welcome from the Columbus community," Goodsell said, "We have received a tremendous $2.5 million challenge grant from an anonymous donor."

Columbus has provided a 47-acre site in south Columbus near the National Infantry Museum and Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center. The relocation is part of an overall re-imagining of the historic village.

This new plan for Historic Westville drives the master site plan, which includes four major interpretive areas: Town Center, Rural, Frontier Settlement and Creek Indian.

Administators say they've received mixed reaction from the Lumpkin community, many who have contributed to the museums preservation over the past few decades, but hope residents can see the big picture.

"Our move to Columbus is only to continue all of the work and the sweat and tears that have been put into Historic Westville from this community, we're not taking it away from them, we're trying to build the legacy

Historic Westville will continue programs at its current site in Lumpkin, GA until Dec. 26. After that time, it will be closed to the public in order to continue its work for the move of Columbus," said Grandey.

"I am excited about the progress we have made and look forward to our getting relocated to Columbus and beginning the next era for Westville," said Jim Laycock, Historic Westville board chair.

During this interim period, Westville will make educational outreach programs available to school classrooms and will also partner with local institutions and attractions on programs and events that will offer a unique contribution.

For project updates and special events visit their website at Westville.org.

Copyright 2015 WTVM. All rights reserved.