The Cumberland Island Museum was incorporated in 1985 to identify, preserve, and protect the biological archives of Cumberland and other local barrier islands and to expand knowledge of this area. Museum materials and collections serve as resources for scholars, who will find extensive information available about Cumberland Island and much of the Southeast Coast.
Theses, doctoral dissertations, government publications and reports, maps and aerial photographs, letters and notes of biologists and collectors of the past, in addition to the specimens, provide a comprehensive basis for all types of historical and biological studies of the island.
The large specimen collection has been assembled from animals found dead on the island and nearby mainland, providing insight into the biological history of the island and coastal plain. The collections and museum materials are available for use by qualified researchers, as is the case with other similar facilities.
Unlike some museums, The Cumberland Island Museum does not have exhibits or displays, but simply houses and curates research materials. Nevertheless, visitors can see preserved specimens and use the library. A well-equipped laboratory is utilized for specimen preparation and various laboratory activities.
The Cumberland Island Museum building is climate-controlled and regularly fumigated to assure proper preservation of all materials. Costs of the operation, including insurance, are borne by private donations, grants, research contracts, and newsletter subscriptions. No salaries are paid, hence operating costs are minimized.
A Board of Directors is responsible for all aspects of the Museum and will oversee movement of the holdings to appropriate research museums after the lives of the current curators.
Individualized volunteer internships during the past few years have proved valuable to both the individuals and the Museum. The programs have ranged from routine museum curatorial duties and cataloging, to independent or collaborative studies. Those individuals of college age or older have gained the most from the internships; consequently, we no longer accept younger interns. Several of the past interns have gone into quality graduate programs and research positions around the world.
The Museum building is located in The Subdivision on the north end of Cumberland Island. Access is limited by distances involved and the lack of transportation. Regardless, many visitors are able to reach the facilities. Researchers may, by prior arrangement, be transported to the Museum for studies.
Since there are no telephones nor regular mail service, arrangements must be finalized at least two weeks before arrival. Mail is received weekly. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ongoing research at the Museum includes regular beach surveys for stranded vertebrates; necropsies of animals and preparation of museum specimens; monitoring colonial nesting birds; amphibian monitoring; alligator feeding studies;and opportunistic studies of plants, herps, birds and mammals. In addition, we participate in collaborative studies with biologists at the Smithsonian Institution, Indiana State University, and Georgia Southern University.
Some confusion in museum names has developed since the recent establishment of the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum in St. Marys, Georgia. That museum is an entirely separate entity, devoted mostly to cultural history, and run by the National Park Service.
The CI Museum Newsletter is published quarterly and covers activities of the quarter in more detail than the web site. Items of interest dealing with general island happenings and National Park Service activities are also included. For a donation of $15 or more your name will be placed on the mailing list. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
Contact us at:
The Cumberland Island Museum
P.O. Box 7080
St. Marys, GA 31558