University Maces, Medallions, and Chains of Office on Display

by Erin Prentiss

Ever wonder about what those large wooden staffs and giant necklaces are at commencement? You can take a closer look at the ceremonial maces (wooden staffs), medallions, and chains of office from Augusta University’s legacy institutions on display on the first floor of Reese Library. The display is the first of many historic exhibits featuring objects from our university’s past that will be placed throughout our campuses by the Augusta University Heritage Project.

mace exhibit
Augusta University Heritage Project University Maces, Medallions, and Chains of Office Exhibit

The maces, medallions, and chains of office have a long history, as they come to us from European medieval academic traditions. Maces were originally used in battle, but over time they became symbols of authority to be used at political and academic ceremonies, including graduations. The maces and medallions on display are intricately carved with images representing the schools they were created for, like the head of Apollo, Greek god of medicine, on top of the Medical College of Georgia mace and the cannonball representing the Augusta Arsenal on the Augusta College mace. Learn more about the institutional histories of the maces, medallions, and chains of office by visiting the exhibit.