With Museum Day Live! quickly approaching, Georgia Museums Inc. Executive Director Seth Hopkins is embracing the opportunity for two of the organization’s venues to continue broadening their visitor base.
“Both Booth [Western Art] Museum and Bartow History Museum have participated in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live! event for a number of years,” said Hopkins, who also serves as the executive director for the Booth museum. “Looking back at attendance numbers, it is encouraging to see that nearly 2,500 guests have visited the Booth and nearly 1,000 have visited Bartow History Museum as part of this annual event.
“Our participation allows us the opportunity to share our resources with new audiences. We can share the rich history of Bartow County or allow visitors to explore the West without leaving the South. For us, it is exciting to be associated with an annual event of this magnitude, and we are hopeful our guests enjoy their experiences.
On Sept. 23, patrons bearing Museum Day Live! tickets will receive free admission to the Cartersville sites. Tickets can be downloaded on the initiative’s website, www.smithsonian.com/museumday, which also contains a complete list of participating venues across the nation and Museum Day Live! details, such as one ticket covers two attendees.
Bartow History Museum
“We are pleased to participate in Museum Day Live! again this year,” BHM Director Trey Gaines said. “We have seen a steady increase in participation and visitation on the day for the past few years, with dozens of new visitors enjoying the museum on this special day. Our Museum Day Live! visitors have come from Bartow County, as well as from surrounding counties and the larger region.
“The Museum Day Live! day is a great way for individuals and families to visit a museum for free that they may not ordinarily have the opportunity to visit. We have a lot to offer visitors, particularly those that live here in our community. We want members of the community to be involved in the museum, and we hope, by visiting the museum, they gain appreciation for the rich history around us.”
Formed in 1987, BHM’s gift shop, multi-purpose room, and permanent and temporary exhibits have been housed in the 1869 Courthouse — 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville, under the Church Street bridge — since December 2010. Divided into six galleries, the permanent exhibits include “A Sense of Place,” “Bartow Beginnings,” “Community Champions,” “People at Work,” “The Coming War” and “Toward New Horizons.”
“Visitors will experience a walk through time as they explore the permanent exhibition gallery with exhibits on Cherokee and pioneer life, the Civil War, notable figures, farm and mill life, and other people and events that have shaped who we are up from long ago through the present,” Gaines said.
Along with BHM’s permanent collection, visitors also will be able to view its current temporary exhibition, “Bartow in Pictures Exhibit: Sports.” Displayed along the hallway in the museum’s first floor, the exhibit will close at the end of the year.
“The Smithsonian traveling exhibit, ‘Hometown Teams,’ just closed, and we had a great response from our visitors,” Gaines said. “If you missed the exhibit, we still have a collection of historic sports images on display in our ‘Bartow in Pictures’ exhibit. Sports hold a special place in the lives of many in this community, and these photos have a way of bringing back memories and stories from a wide range of people.
“The exhibit is made up of a collection of photos from our archives. The images are of a variety of sports and times, including textile teams, swim teams and championship teams. A couple that get a lot of attention are of the 1930s Atco baseball team and the 1964 Cass High girl’s championship basketball team.”
Booth Western Art Museum
In addition to strolling down Bartow’s past, Museum Day Live! patrons also will be able to venture out West with a visit to the Booth museum.
“Over the past seven years, we have seen an average of 350 visitors to the Booth as a result of Museum Day Live! many of which are first-time visitors to the museum,” said Tom Shinall, director of marketing for the Booth museum. “With the excitement of offering free admission, we anticipate an increase in visitation during this event, but given the size and scope of the museum, we can always accommodate more.
“Museum Day Live! [gives] us the opportunity to share our resources ... [with] the community, many of which are new to the museum. In turn, it is our hope that this event helps provide a positive visitor experience, enhancing the cultural aspect of our community.”
Located at 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville, the Booth is known worldwide for its extensive collection of contemporary Western art. The 120,000-square-foot museum, which became an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2006, offers a variety of exhibit spaces, some of which include the Civil War gallery; Sculpture Court; a presidential gallery; the “Picturing America” photography gallery; and the interactive children’s gallery, Sagebrush Ranch.
In addition to items in its permanent collection, visitors will be able to view three existing feature exhibits — “Ansel Adams: The Masterworks,” “Painting Red Rocks Country, Past and Present” and “Booth Photography Guild Annual Exhibition” — along with “Western American Art South of the Sweet Tea Line V,” which will open Saturday.
“The Booth Western Art Museum is set [to] embark on its 15th year providing education, entertainment and inspiration to guests through the exploration of Western art, popular culture and American heritage,” Shinall said. “To celebrate this milestone, Booth Western Art Museum is excited to present the fifth installment of our signature triennial exhibition series, ‘Western American Art South of the Sweet Tea Line,’ opening Sept. 16 in the Booth’s Special Exhibition Gallery and remaining on view through Dec. 31, 2017.
“‘Western American Art South of the Sweet Tea Line V,’ or ‘Sweet Tea V’ as it is known among Booth museum insiders, allows visitors to experience art that will transport them to the most beautiful locations in the West, while witnessing both the joys and hardships of life in the West. Highlighted by more than 90 paintings, sculpture, photographs and objects in a wide range of ... media and styles by 80 artists, ‘Sweet Tea V’ spans over 150 years of art history from more than 40 public and private Southern collections.”
Working with private collectors and museums across the Southeast, Hopkins and the Booth’s director of curatorial services, Lisa Wheeler, cocurated the exhibition.
“The Sweet Tea Series began in 2005 and has become the Booth museum’s signature exhibition, occurring every three years,” Shinall said. “The title, developed by the museum’s founding curator, Dr. W. James Burns, whimsically and loosely defines the geographic area, which is home to these amazing works of art. The Sweet Tea Series truly complements the Booth museum main galleries, which house the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in America. The resulting exhibition presents a full cross-section of Western art, both historical and contemporary, and the full range of potential Western subjects.
“In conjunction with the official exhibition opening, Booth museum will be saying ‘thank you’ to our members with an Exhibition Opening + Member Party on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 4 p.m. [to] 9 p.m. Our members will be the first to view ‘Western American Art South of the Sweet Tea Line V’ and enjoy an evening for adults 21 [and older].”
Free for museum members, the exhibit’s opening celebration will cost $25 plus tax for each of the members’ guests. The Sept. 16 event will feature a gallery walk at 4 p.m.; Southern grits bar and music at 5 p.m.; an artists panel discussion at 7 p.m.; and a coffee bar, dessert and musical entertainment at 8 p.m.
Further details about the Booth can be obtained by calling 770-387-1300 or visiting www.boothmuseum.org. For more information about the BHM and its exhibits and programs, call 770-382-3818 or visit www.bartowhistorymuseum.org.