NHS exhibit revitalizes the Male Academy Museum
by Celia Shortt
The Male Academy Museum re-opened this weekend, featuring a new student-curated exhibit organized by the Newnan High School History Club.
Students, parents, and Historical Society board members were able to view the exhibit prior to its public opening.
“Let’s thank the kids from NHS,” said Jeff Bishop, coordinator for the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, at the event. “They have done a tremendous job … a tremendous amount of the work here. They took off and ran with it. I’m proud of what they’ve done.”
Members of the NHS history club have worked since January to bring this exhibit to fruition.
Jeremy Messer, president of the history club, thanked everyone who assisted in the undertaking along with the teachers that inspired the project, and Newnan High School for the opportunity.
“Foremost, I want to thank Mr. Q (Steve Quesinberry) for his dedication to the history department and this project,” said Messer. “His leadership pulled this project off.”
Messer also thanked NCHS members for their work on the project.
“Without the members, [the project] wouldn’t have been possible,” said Messer.
Historical Society President Sarah LaMance commented on what the exhibit means for the county.
“It tells the story of Newnan,” LaMance said. “It brings to life the activities and meaningful experiences that so much of Newnan has. It enriches our community.”
The exhibit features NHS memorabilia from as far back as 1893 and includes items like diplomas, photographs, letter jackets, and posters. One of the most memorable items is a small, stuffed tiger named Willy. The tiger was Newnan’s mascot prior to desegregation.
Steve Quesinberry, chair of the school’s history department, said the group found Willy after seeing a sign in an area they were using for storage. The sign read, “Willy was in Daryl’s office.” Quesinberry and others found him in a closet there wrapped in trash bags.
The NHS history club conducted many hours of interviews with former teachers, administrators and notable alumni. Visitors to the exhibit can listen to these interviews by using a smartphone and scanning individual QR codes. The interviews are also available to watch on a DVD.
The exhibit also includes the opportunity for interaction, allowing visitors to participate in many ways rather than simply viewing.
“Cards are available for those who would like to include a memory of NHS,” said Quesinberry. “A website has also been created that will link to Facebook pages about different eras in NHS history – we would like for people to post favorite memories and upload their favorite photos from their time at NHS.”
The website is http://www.cowetaschools.org/nhs/quesinberry/blog.
The exhibit’s grand opening will continue today from 1 p.m to 5 p.m. A special photo booth will be available in which visitors can have their picture taken in front of a historical mural painted by the NHS art department.
Beginning Monday, the exhibit will be open during the Male Academy Museum’s regular business hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the museum is $5 for non-members and $2 for children and senior citizens.