"For a long time it's been a dream of the museum to be in the 1869 Courthouse," Gaines said. "So it's been a long time coming and we're very excited to finally be there and to have a great first year in the building. And to be able to celebrate 25 years in the building now I think is very exciting for all of us and really just a great cause for celebration for the museum staff but also for the community that really came to support the project and the museum throughout the process to get into the building.
"The community itself in Cartersville and all of Bartow County has really been integral to what the museum is today. They've come out over the years and have donated the artifacts and the photographs and the documents for the materials that we preserve here and exhibit. So they've been supportive in that way. They've also been supportive financially through their memberships and donations. And also just support through representation, participating in activities at the museum."
In honor of its 25th anniversary, the museum will host a Silver Anniversary Party on March 30. Along with partaking in food and fellowship, the public is welcome to tour the museum's exhibits from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
"Basically it's an opportunity to celebrate the milestone of 25 years in operation. That night we'll open a new temporary exhibit on the history of the museum," said Gaines, referring to the "Bartow's Treasures: 25 Years of Collecting, Preserving and Educating" exhibit that will be on display through July. "It will open to the public the next week but this gives an opportunity for those who are coming out on that night to be the first to see it. ... Basically it illustrates the history of the museum [and] the different programs, events and people that have been involved in the museum.
"It will also highlight and showcase a number of artifacts that we've collected over the years that have not been on display in a while or before at all. It's an opportunity to get some things out of storage and show them off. We've got some advertisement pieces from local and county businesses that we've collected over the years. ... We also have a number of portraits, framed portraits, that we'll have out."
Formed in 1987, the BHM welcomed more than 14,000 visitors last year. Since Dec. 10, 2010, the venue's gift shop, multi-purpose room, and permanent and temporary exhibits have been housed in the 1869 Courthouse, 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville. 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."
Serving as Bartow's courthouse from 1869 to 1902, the two-story brick building was utilized for a variety of purposes in the 1900s, some of which include a roller skating rink, furniture store and warehouse. Sitting vacant since the 1980s, the building under the Church Street Bridge was acquired by the city of Cartersville in 1995 and was renovated with $1.7 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
"We're very, very proud of the building and in restoring that," said Dianne Tate -- Cartersville mayor pro tem and co-president of the Etowah Valley Historical Society -- about the 1869 Courthouse. "It's such a focal point in downtown Cartersville. And I think everyone's been very proud of SPLOST dollars going in to restore that beautiful, old 1869 building. And what a more appropriate thing to then have the history of our county, in fact even more than that the region, in there.
"So I see it as a fantastic location to draw people into our business area and to see the history as people come here either for the Booth [Western Art Museum] or downtown shopping and dining or in the future for LakePoint. ... So I think it's meaningful on so many levels."
Along with being a celebratory gathering, the party will serve as a fundraiser for the museum, with proceeds going toward its operations. For $50 each, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the evening's offerings that will feature heavy hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. There also will be a raffle drawing, which participants do not have to be present to win. Currently posted on www.bartowhistorymuseum.org, the raffle prizes include framed historic artwork, a Sony Tablet and a 26-inch flat screen television. Raffle tickets cost $15 for one and $40 for three.
Prior to the event, tickets for the Silver Anniversary Party and the raffle can be purchased at the BHM gift shop or by calling 770-387-2774.
Those wanting to attend the party need to RSVP by Friday to firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-387-2774.