C.O. Polk Museum preview a hit at Geranium Festival

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

The Geranium Festival gave people a peek into the past and the future of McDonough, thanks to the opening of a renovated building dedicated to the history of the area.

About 300 people visited what will be the C.O. Polk Interactive Museum, at 34 John Frank Ward Blvd., on Saturday. The project’s designer, Mark Walhimer, said the soft opening was a success for himself and city leaders.

C.O. Polk Interactive Museum project designer, Mark Walhimer, demonstrates a touchscreen table to Maison Colpetzer at the museum preview. Photo by Nick Vassy

“We definitely got the word out,” said Walhimer. “For us, more important than the building is the C.O. Polk Interactive Museum as a community resource, a place where people can gather and together understand ‘McDonough Heart,’ that McDonough is different, this is a place of community and people who care deeply about McDonough.”

About 75 kids previewed the museum during the festival. Walhimer said he is working to create a family-friendly attraction for the city that is enjoyable for people of all ages.

He noted that many in attendance were “surprised” by the level of technology and interactivity at the museum.

“People were also impressed by the conservation of the mural ‘Cotton-Gin Mill’ 1940 by Jean Charlot,” said Walhimer. “Many people commented that they could now see colors and faces better than before the conservation.”

Walhimer and his team will finalize architectural plans for the building by the end of May, with construction set to begin in June.

“We will also finalize exhibit designs this month and start exhibition fabrication next month,” he said.

Plans call for the official opening for the museum on November 18.