A large concrete wedge dominates one half of the building. Unseen bugs reign. It helps to have a bit of an imagination, but that will not be necessary for long — plans remain for the multimillion-dollar Jekyll Island MOSAiC Museum to open early next year.
“The ‘80s-vintage theater is, for the most part, gone, other than the concrete riser,” Bruce Piatek, director of historical resources for the Jekyll Island Authority, said during a walk-through of the historic island stables Thursday. “But, you get a much-more dramatic sense of the nature and character and history of this building. It’s beautiful to look at this way, without the other thing(s) in the way.”
Workers are preserving the original floor of the stable, which may or may not need significant work, depending if the riser went on top of the original stone, which is preferred, or whether something else awaits workers underneath the concrete wedge.
Consultants and staff are still in the process of finalizing the overall museum design, but one half of the stables will be a gallery area, and the midpoint of the building, now split between gigantic wood doors and a two-sided brick fireplace and chimney, will have glass going as high up as possible where the one of the gigantic doors presently stands.
The new entrance will be in the half of the building south of the glass partition, which will include an orientation space, a ticketing area, public restrooms and multipurpose classroom space. In the back — on the east side of the property — there will be a partial roof and deck area with access between the renovated museum and the outside for outdoor learning activities.
The Jekyll Island Foundation ended its fundraising campaign for the facility in December 2016, pulling in thousands of dollars more than the $3.134 million goal. Gov. Nathan Deal said at the time, “The MOSAiC will offer anyone who visits an opportunity to know the island’s past, enjoy its present and help protect its future.”
In regard to that protection, some wooden items remain inside the structure — including two telephone booths, with phones, that were originally installed at the Jekyll Island Club in December 1959 — have to get the same touch of the exterminator as the rest of the structure.
“What used to be the gift shop is filled with pretty much anything wooden that we couldn’t take out of this building, because we’re waiting for it to get warm enough so we can tent and fumigate the entire building,” Piatek said. “As any old building does, it has some termites, but powder post beetles — those sort of critters.
“We know they’re in some of the furniture that was in the gift shop, so we’re going to fumigate everything and then move it out, but we need 70 degrees for at least 24 hours. Otherwise, apparently the materials, the gas they put in here won’t distribute throughout the building.”
The stables were built in 1897 and cover around 8,300 square feet. Once the renovation is complete, the museum is slated to exhibit a rotating number of the more than 20,000 artifacts now on display at the temporary museum at the old infirmary building, or in storage.