UWG’s Center for Public History Receives $35,600 Grant

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Center for Public History at the University of West Georgia recently received a $35,600 grant from the Callaway Foundation to support the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail. The funds will be used to support the publication of a photography book on the textile industry in northwest Georgia and a conference on the importance of textile history and heritage tourism in this region.

“We are very excited to receive this funding to support the development of the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail,” said Dr. Ann McCleary, co-director of the Center for Public History. “These funds will help us complete two key projects in this inaugural year of the trail’s operations.”

The book will be built upon historic photographs and stories from communities along the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail, which extends from Columbus, Ga. to Dalton, Ga. The publication will help readers learn about places such as LaGrange, Ga. and Troup County while encouraging them to visit and explore the rich history that is still visible through the historic buildings and mill communities, museums and archives. The Center for Public History will begin working on the book and reviewing archival collections along the trail in August 2013. Staff anticipate completion of the research and writing phase by August 2014. The center is proposing the book to Arcadia Publishing and it will be sold in trail communities upon completion.

The Callaway grant will also fund a two-day conference at Hills and Dales in LaGrange, Ga. This annual conference for the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail will highlight the importance of textile history in the region, the preservation of historic resources that tell those stories, and the role that heritage tourism plays in these communities. The conference will also celebrate the history and culture of LaGrange, Ga. by featuring guided tours, special speakers and musical performances. It is anticipated that the conference will draw close to 200 visitors interested in the region’s textile history and will encourage them to tell others about the historic attractions and stories that LaGrange, Ga. has to offer.

“The Callaway Foundation is an ideal partner for telling these important stories about the textile industry in west Georgia,” said Dr. Keith Hebert, co-director of the Center for Public History. “LaGrange and Troup County were important centers of textile history, and several LaGrange museums and tourism organizations have already joined the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail.”

The Callaway Foundation has maintained a longstanding commitment to investing in the future of Troup County. This grant will provide UWG’s Center for Public History an opportunity to work toward the shared goal of driving economic development across Troup County and around the region.

The Center for Public History continues to promote understanding and public discussion of regional history and culture. It also offers a variety of services in historical research, exhibit development, oral history projects, folk life documentation, architectural survey, public program development, digital history and archival processing.

To learn more about the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail, please visit the website at http://westgatextiletrail.wordpress.com/. To share photographs for the book or to receive information on the conference, contact The Center for Public History, at 678-839-6141.