But as wonderful as the artifacts are, the hospitality of the historians and volunteers who work at the Gold Museum is what really shines. Each person is always willing to tell you a story or two about the traditions of the town or regale you with interesting, little known facts about gold and gold mining. To the hard workers at the Gold Museum, Dahlonega’s history is never boring, lifeless facts, but living breathing stories that captivate and inspire. By the time you leave, you feel as though you’ve become intertwined with the ever-growing history of Dahlonega.

This feeling isn’t limited only to Dahlonega natives, however. While visiting the Gold Museum, we were able to meet some frequent tourists from Indiana. We talked with Ed Goble, a retired legislator of the Indiana General Assembly, who comes to Dahlonega to pan for gold. After joining the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) about seven years ago, Ed found a magazine that listed Dahlonega, GA as one of the top places to pan for gold in America. He planned a trip to come shortly after, and was fascinated with the atmosphere and hospitality of the town— not to mention the gold he found. When asked why he chose gold panning as a hobby, he replied “I don’t find gold to sell it, I find gold for the challenge of finding gold. I enjoy the challenge.”

His statement echoes the passion of many others who have come to pan before him, especially those who participate in the Gold Museum’s Gold Panning National Championship. To win, you must be the first to uncover the 3-4 gold nuggets placed in your pan. In the past, Johnny, an employee at the Dahlonega Consolidated Gold Mine, has been the winner. His record time? Under 60 seconds.

For more information, visit: http://gastateparks.org/DahlonegaGoldMuseum

This blog post is part of a collaborative with the University of North Georgia’s English Department and professor Michael Rifenburg. The concept is looking at Dahlonega’s events, attractions, and overall ambiance through the fresh eyes of UNG freshmen. This post was written by Mackenzie Ford and Haley Gafford.