The Center for Public History at the University of West Georgia will host the third annual West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail conference on March 19 and 20, 2015 in historic Dalton, Ga., the “carpet capital of the world.” This year’s host will be the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society, and the theme will be focused on using the arts to tell the textile stories.

UWG Announces Third Annual West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail Conference The conference will include ideas for how to use theatre, music, and the visual arts in the community as well as how to collaborate with local art agencies and organizations. It will also provide sessions on fundraising, historic preservation, and developing heritage tourism products. All sessions will be led by arts and industry professionals, and conference participants will have plenty of opportunity to network with these experts and representatives from other communities along the trail.

Conference attendees will explore Dalton’s history with programs at the Crown Gardens and Archives; the Dalton Little Theatre; the historic Dalton Depot and Trackside Tavern; and tours of the Hamilton House, Shaw Industries, and Prater’s Mill.

The West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail is a heritage tourism initiative that explores the heritage of the textile industry in west and northwest Georgia, from Columbus to Dalton. The trail highlights historic communities that played a vital role in the cotton, hosiery, apparel, chenille, and apparel industries. The Center for Public History of the University of West Georgia’s Department of History manages the textile trail with a dedicated staff of faculty and students.

On Thursday, March 19, conference workshops focus on a community theatre, preservation tools, and fundraising. The program also includes a tour of the historic Hamilton House and an evening program on “Mill Town Music,” featuring historian Kevin Fontenot and musician Mick Kinney.

Friday morning opens with a presentation on the history of Dalton’s textile industry by renowned historian Dr. Douglas Flamming of Georgia Tech. Following the keynote presentation, participants will hear about “Strength in Partnership: Collaborating with Local Art Organizations” and “Tufted Tales: Collecting Stories about the Makers and Manufactures of Chenille Garments.” The final session will focus on how to develop heritage tourism products for your community, followed by tours of Shaw Industries and Prater's Mill.

The pre-registration form can be found in the attached West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail brochure or online at www. westgatextiletrail.wordpress.com/a-heritage-tourism-initiative/2015-conference/. Please note that some sessions have limited registration. The last day to pre-register for the conference is Monday, March 2, 2015. Limited late registration may be available, if space allows.

The Dalton conference is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council, the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Shaw Industries, and the Dalton Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional support comes from the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society and the Dalton Little Theatre. The West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail is supported, in part, by the University of West Georgia College of Arts and Humanities.

For more information about the conference, please call 678-839-6141 or e-mail wgtht@westga.edu.

Posted on Friday, February 6, 2015