The Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia at Dalton State is planning to open a gallery in the Freight Depot downtown.
“It gives us an opportunity to display on a large scale that we’ve never had before,” said John Fowler, the B.J. and Dicksie Bandy Chair of History and the Executive Director of the heritage center. “We have 2,500 square feet. This will help us highlight some of the items and expertise we’ve had but not had a place to display. The exhibits we’ll put there are more standard size. We have small ones here now that are really more displays because we haven’t had the space for larger exhibits. Travel exhibits will open here then go on the road.”
The Bandy Center’s expansion doesn’t stop at the depot. Mr. Fowler is working with the Creative Arts Guild and the Dalton-Whitfield Library to show displays at those locations as well.
“We’ll be following the model a lot of large museums have now,” Mr. Fowler said. “They have exhibits in different parts of the city to attract different people and appeal to different audiences.”
While the depot may feature an exhibit on World War II, the arts guild may display a Latino art exhibit.
The depot gallery is expected to open in September. Museum quality display cases for the exhibits have already been set up at the depot, but details of the first exhibit have not been finalized.
“We are very excited about the Bandy Heritage Center having a presence in the historic depot in downtown Dalton,” said Sandra Stone, Dalton State’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Given the Center’s mission to preserve and educate the public about the history of the Northwest Georgia region, it seems a most appropriate location. We appreciate the partnership with the City of Dalton and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau that made this move possible, as well as the continuing support of Mr. Jack Bandy, whose generosity has enabled the center to expand and enhance its programs and services. In addition to providing a history museum for Dalton, having the Bandy Center downtown increases its visibility. It emphasizes its importance to the region. It strengthens the partnership between the college and the community. It showcases the knowledge, talent and skills of the staff. And it provides opportunities for our students to learn new and marketable skills, especially in the areas of public history, historical preservation and museum management. The additional space will also allow the center to bring outside exhibits to Dalton from places such as the Smithsonian Museum, which will further expand the educational value for the College and the community. Altogether, we believe this is a win-win for Dalton and Dalton State.”
A planned exhibit for the depot is “Deadly Skies: Georgians in the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II.” The exhibit will focus on bombing campaigns and fighter pilots throughout Georgia, including some from the area. Some of the items are from Lt. Denver Truelove, who was in the Doolittle Raid. That display will include never before published photos of the war, his diary and some of his medals.
The family of Col. Harold Babb, who flew the plane Bottoms Up, the subject of a nonfiction book, has donated some of his artifacts for display as well. The center has a model of the plane being fueled and includes the plane’s insignia.
Another planned exhibit includes items from the Judd House, a prominent family who built a house on Walnut Avenue in the early 20thcentury, said Brian Hilliard, project director for the Bandy Center.
Gardens at the home were popular and led to the Judds being invited to help design gardens in China. The Judds traveled the world and collected several artifacts, including fingernail covers women of high social standings wore to protect their nails and show their status and diplomatic papers for travels in Russia in 1903.
“We have an opportunity to tell the story of the house and the family, which was really socially prominent,” Mr. Fowler said.
With the new gallery space, there will be several opportunities to tell such stories. Mr. Fowler expects to display a new exhibit about three times a year.
The depot exhibits will be free and self-guided. The gallery will be open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.