Early 20th Century

In direct contrast to the Traditional Farmstead at the south end of the property, the 20th Century section showcases advancements in technology, medicine, leisure and agriculture.

Cotton Gin


The Wiregrass area of Georgia was an ideal place for growing cotton, which requires a minimum temperature of 60 degrees F and at least 180 frost-free days. Cotton grew well in the Wiregrass region’s long, hot summers with their high humidity and unobstructed sunshine (once the pine trees were cleared away). With the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 by Eli Whitney, cotton growing took off in the south. The cotton gin here at the GMA works on the same principle as Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, with several steps involved in processing the cotton.

First, the cotton is taken from the wagon of the farmer through a duct and elevator system that is just like a large vacuum cleaner.  The cotton then goes into the gin itself, from the feeder, and the seeds are taken out of the cotton by the gin. The Museum’s gin is an 1896 Lummus gin with 80 saws to gin the cotton. The seeds fall out of the bottom of the gin and the cotton moves the condenser, where dirt and trash are removed. Next, the cotton goes into the cotton press to be pressed into a bale, which will weigh about 500 pounds.

The cotton press here at the GMA is a Lummus double box turntable, friction disc drive, screw type press. The press puts about 40-60 pounds of pressure on the cotton to press it into a bale. The whole cotton gin is powered by a Frick 110 horsepower steam engine.

Guest Experiences May Include

Cotton gin operation and production; Steam power and its effect on labor and industry; Automation of labor

Masonic Lodge


Old Abba Lodge No. 550, currently restored at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture, represents a Masonic lodge that may have existed in a community of the 1890s. Around the village square there were a variety of institutions, such as the apothecary, newspaper, bank, barber shop, church, school, etc. Frequently above one of the stores there was a Masonic Lodge. Originally, Abba Lodge No. 550, established in 1909 in Irwin County, was located in the rural portion of the 11th Masonic District.

The Fraternity of Freemasonry has exerted a powerful influence for good in the United States, and especially in Georgia. A strong tradition holds that Georgia was founded by Freemason James Edward Oglethorpe. Fourteen American presidents have held membership. Clergy, farmers, teachers, physicians, attorneys, merchants, bankers, and a host of others have graced the Masonic ranks.

Guest Experiences May Include

Fraternal organizations and their role in society; Charitable works; Politics

Doctors Office


The Doctor’s Office was donated to the Museum by the Boston Marketing Association, and is believed to have been constructed in Boston, Georgia in the 1870s. The initial structure consisted of one room and was used as the office for Daniel Alexander Horn, a farmer and businessman of Boston. Doctor H. A. Vann began using the building as his office in 1898 and continued to do so through 1925, when he retired. A second room was added some time around this date. The exact year of this addition is currently unknown, but research indicates that it was between 1898 and 1902.

Doctors were usually the first professional people to move into the developing regions of the countryside, and their services were an essential ingredient in the settlement and growth of the state’s small towns. The talents and skills of these nineteenth-century practitioners were tested against a broad range of illnesses and accidental injuries for a widely dispersed and generally poor population. The rural doctor’s practice was based more on travel to the sick – and little office practice – because patients were treated with simple remedies at home until the situation became too drastic. There were many serious and arduous problems to meet, and at the top of these stood epidemics of typhoid fever during the summer.

Guest Experiences May Include

The life and lifestyle of a Wiregrass region doctor and family; House-calls and homemade remedies; Herbal medicine vs. drugstore remedies; Herb garden planting and harvesting demonstrations and activities; Homemade remedy demonstrations

Tift House


The Tift-Willingham house is considered the home of the “town father,” or leading entrepreneur or businessman [Henry Harding Tift, a/k/a “Captain Tift,” and his wife Bessie Willingham Tift]. It depicts an upper-class dwelling in a developing rural town around 1900. Many small Georgia towns in the late nineteenth century flourished as a result of an individual whose foresight and business acumen spurred the town’s economic, social, and religious development.  Henry Harding Tift was one of those individuals. During the late 19th century, he developed a small sawmill camp into a thriving city and transformed the countryside from pine trees to a regional agricultural center.

Tour the original Victorian home of Tifton’s founder, Captain H. H. Tift. The Tift House was designed with curly pine molding, high ceilings, antique furnishings, and heart pine floors. It’s furnished with a wood burning cook stove, Victorian paintings, ornate wallpaper, and fine china.

Guest Experiences May Include

The Tift family; Naval stores industry; Timber production; Railroad industry; Charitable works; Family and community legacy; Arts and entertainment; Leisure and culture; Labor and industry, Advancements in technology

Straight from the Farm


A combination storage/exhibit area for unrestored agricultural equipment and implements, tools and machinery. Ag enthusiasts will find labeled and cataloged bays of interesting equipment from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s, with plenty of space to walk around and see the pieces from all sides. A gravel path from the main museum building leads to the exhibit, with more artifacts on display lining the path.

Moonshine Shack


The Moonshine Shack exhibit is a permanent outdoor installation centered around an early 1900s moonshine still recovered decades ago in a south GA county. The exhibit is located strategically on a creek behind the Sawmill and Turpentine Still area, on the railroad tracks and the Nature trail. The exhibit is visible from the train and was built entirely out of reclaimed materials. An interpretive panel on moonshining can be viewed from the Nature Trail.