Atlanta History Center curator speaks Monday

By W. WINSTON SKINNER winston@newnan.com Dr. Gordon L. Jones of the Atlanta History Center will be coming to Newnan for the first event sponsored by the local Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. Jones, senior military historian and curator at the Atlanta History Center, will speak on conditions in Georgia in 1860 -- the year before the conflagration that divided the country began -- on Monday in the courtroom of the recently restored Coweta County Courthouse.
Jones' talk is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. "He is going to set the stage," Jan Bowyer, committee chair, said. She said Jones will touch on both national and state issues and trends that were taking place as the stage was set for war. "The talk will last about 30 or 45 minutes," Bowyer said. "Then he's going to open it up for questions." Jones is responsible for the care, exhibition and research of approximately 12,000 objects of military origin, most of which relate to the American Civil War. He was the writer and curator of the 9,200 square-foot signature exhibition, "Turning Point: The American Civil War," which opened in 1996, as well as a number of temporary exhibitions since that time. Jones holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory University, specializing in the Civil War in popular culture and the processes of remembering, commemorating and recreating the past. He also holds a bachelor of arts degree in history from Furman University and a master of arts in applied history and museum studies from the University of South Carolina. Jones was born and grew up in Greenville, S.C. The local sesquicentennial committee has been meeting for several months and has outlined an ambitious series of projects running throughout the four years of the anniversary. Local artist Martin Pate designed a logo for the local sesquicentennial that includes several Civil War symbols and features a nurse from the period standing in front of an antebellum home. "Newnan was known as a hospital town," Bowyer noted. The theme for the celebration -- also on the logo -- is "County of Hope -- City of Healing." Military hospitals were located in large buildings in Newnan including homes, business structures, churches and the buildings at College Temple, a women's college not far from downtown. There will be music and drama productions, an art show, exhibits of Civil War era items and programs aimed at students in the local schools. In 2004, a re-enactment of the 1864 Battle of Brown's Mill is planned for the site of the battle south of Newnan. State, national and patriotic groups are also planning events that will run throughout the sesquicentennial period. Local fundraising efforts will be announced in the near future. Anyone wishing to get involved may contact the committee at nccw150@nulink.org

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