Historical society celebrating 50 years with benefit gala on Jan. 20

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, January 10, 2023

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The Troup County Historical Society is hosting a black-tie gala fundraiser to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

On Friday, Jan. 20, Troup County Historical Society (TCHS) is hosting a charity ball to celebrate its golden anniversary and to benefit Legacy Museum on Main.

TCHS was founded in 1972 to maintain and protect the history of West Georgia and provide an educational resource into that history.

TCHS is the parent agency of the Troup County Archives and Legacy Museum on Main inside the former LaGrange National Bank Building downtown.

“In 1972, a group of people came together to work toward preserving as much of Troup County and West Georgia history as possible,” said TCHS Executive Director Shannon Johnson. “They began to collect papers, diaries, family bibles, all sorts of things. In the process of collecting, they also collected artifacts that would eventually become what is the museum today.”

The Legacy Museum on Main opened to the public in 2008 after collecting historical records, photos, documents and artifacts for over three decades.

In addition to their efforts to conserve the history of Troup County and West Georgia, the society helps run the Troup County Archives, which maintains records for the Troup County School System, Troup County, the City of LaGrange and the City of Hogansville.

The black-tie event will include dinner by Chef Jamie Keating, chef and owner of Epic restaurant in Columbus, Georgia. Dinner will be followed by dancing with big band music provided by Peachtree City Jazz Edition.

The event will kick off at 6 p.m. with a silent auction featuring the artwork of Annie Greene, who is known for yarn artwork depicting the history of the civil rights era of the South, along with other items donated by the community.

Johnson said Greene has produced yarn artwork of the Royal Theatre in Hogansville, as well as the archives building, both of which will be auctioned off at the gala. She said prints will also be available, including signed prints for table sponsors.

The Legacy Museum is open to the public and many of its programs like Hands on History and Baby History are free. The funds from the benefit gala will go to help support the museum and the services it provides.

“We have lectures that are available, oftentimes free of charge.  [The money] helps support our Halloween tours and our other walking tours. In addition to all of that, it also helps support our preservation efforts and our research efforts,” Johnson said.

Johnson said they have recently been working toward oral history interviews and digitization of some of their collections, as well as microfilming the collections so that they last longer than their current deteriorating paper.

Johnson joked that she is biased, but she really does believe in the importance of maintaining local history and taking everything from a historical perspective.

“Recently, we have had a big focus on science, technology, engineering and math. Not to take the focus off of that, but to say that all of our students are going to be mathematicians or scientists, they’re not going to be. Every single one of them is going to be a citizen. Every single one of them needs to have a good foundation in the history of heritage of their local community.”

“They need to know where we come from and what we’ve been through — the good the bad — all of it, to know where we’re going. If for no other reason, so they can vote with an educated vote,” Johnson said. “It’s so important that we have a historical education as much as any of the others so that we are an informed population, and we can keep this republic running as well as it does.”

The 50th Anniversary Gala will be held at Del’avant in LaGrange on Friday, Jan. 20 starting at 6 p.m. Johnson said sponsorships for the gala are still available. Tickets are available at trouphistory.org