History of the Georgia Southern Museum

Charles Austin, vice-president for academic affairs, created the museum on July 1, 1980. He designated space for it in the Rosenwald Building, which was built in 1937. Until 1975, the college library was housed in Rosenwald, and faculty meetings were held in the rotunda. The building is the only campus structure named for someone not directly associated with the college or community. Julius Rosenwald (1862- 1932) was one of the nation’s best known philanthropists and business leaders. He was the vice-president and treasurer of Sears, Roebuck and Company from 1895 to 1910, the president from 1910 to 1925, and chairman of the board from 1925 until his death. Assets from The Julius Rosenwald Fund were earmarked for the support of minority and developing colleges and institutions.

  • Dr. Gale Bishop was appointed half-time director for the museum. The museum was to feature a Hall of Man, displaying the culture and technology of mankind, and a Hall of Natural History and Science.
  • The main exhibit was to be the mosasaur. The mosasaur was found in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1978. After many years of work, the mosasaur project was completed in 1987.
  • The formal museum dedication took place on January 31, 1982.
  • Dr. Delma (Del) Presley became the director of the museum at the end of 1982.
  • Some of the first exhibits included “Butterflies of Bulloch County,” “Oligocene Land Mammals of North America,” and “Fossil Oysters.”
  • The Antique Cabinet in the hallway was given to GSC by Dr. Lucien Lamar Knight, who was Georgia’s official state historian in the 1930’s.
  • In 1983 a fossil skeleton was discovered at the construction site of Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle. Excavated by Georgia Southern Paleontologists, Georgiacetus vogtlensis turned out to be the oldest whale fossil discovered in North America.

Last updated: 5/26/2013

Georgia Southern Museum • PO Box 8061 Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-5444