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Hollybourne Cottage Exhibit Plan



Jekyll Island Authority


Exhibit Plan


Jekyll Island, GA was once the playground of America’s wealthiest Gilded Age families. They maintained an exclusive club and built lavish vacation cottages. Among them, Hollybourne Cottage stands as one of the island’s crown jewels. Uniquely constructed by a bridge engineer, it is also the last remaining cottage to be restored and reopened. HWE partnered with architectural preservationists at Meadors, Inc., to develop a comprehensive plan to address restoration needs and to introduce interpretive exhibits to the three-story home. 


To develop our plan, the HWE team participated in a two-day onsite workshop to learn about the present preservation efforts and the home’s history, to explore the present visitor experience at Jekyll Island, and to discuss the vision museum staff had for this home and how it could fit into the established tour system. Our overall goal was to create ways to experience Hollybourne that were different from the other historic homes and could perhaps be a template for reimagining the other house tours in the future. 


The HWE team worked in collaboration with JIHD curators to create a vision for the new exhibits that highlight the building’s architecture and construction, display family artifacts and history, provide interactive experiences, and showcase preservation efforts. Our goal was to move beyond the typical staged-house experience. To do that we included a variety of ways to move through the rooms of the house. Some rooms were designed exclusively as exhibit galleries with interpretive panels, hands-on activities, and displays of family objects. At least one room on each floors was staged. The rooms were selected to reflect all the people who lived and worked in the home. Finally, some rooms were left untouched so that the emphasis was on the home’s architecture and preservation efforts. 


Our final planning document included an overview of themes, subthemes and topics, a design scheme, and an approach to panel design and layout. We included plans for each floor showing the arrangement of stories and proposed exhibit components as well as detailed drawings, descriptions, and inspiration pictures for each room. Our plan included an approach to traffic flow, safety and accessibility recommendations, and a summary of preservations needs and recommendations. 

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