Last Saturday, the Pope’s Museum Preservation, Inc., a non-profit that maintains the Pope’s Museum, received the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Preservation Recognition award.
Nominated for the honor by the Georgia State Society, NSDAR State Regent Betty Brown Harrah presented the award to Michelle Dean, the executive director of the Pope’s Museum, with Richard Curtis, chairman of the board of the Pope’s Museum Preservation, Inc., accepting the award as well.
“Euphoric, absolutely euphoric. Couldn’t even imagine, dumbfounded. It’s pretty cool,” Dean said. “We had the DAR here for a luncheon, they were doing their monthly meeting and they wanted to have it here. So, probably nine months ago, they had their luncheon here and we do tours when people come out and they loved it and they said this totally qualified for so much more.”
From various grants to being recognized by the Georgia and National Register for Historic Places this year and many other honors, Dean said that they are looking forward to and preparing for their Christmas festival on December 10, their last big public event for the time being.
“We do have our big Christmas festival December 10 and that’s huge,” she said. “Last year, we had 100 performers from all over, and we had several hundred people last year, it’s really the one time the museum is open to the public and everything is open. After that, the hours are by appointment.”
Additionally, the John Benning Chapter of the NSDAR nominated the museum’s founder, artist Laura Pope Forester, for inclusion in the NSDAR register of Women in American History.
Jean Eaton Gay, the American History and Historic Preservation Co-Chair of the John Benning Chapter, spoke about Forester’s achievements and acceptance into the register.
“Today, the John Benning Chapter NSDAR announces another accolade for Laura Atkinson Pope Forester. She has been added to the registry of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Women in American History,” she said. “Forester was a life-long resident of Southwest Georgia where several of her family branches were pioneers as early as 1820. She was a landowner, wife and mother, storeowner/operator, and postmistress. Most importantly, she was a self-taught artist.”
As an artist, Forester worked with common objects that had been cast aside and fashioned them into new and brilliant works of art that still remain on the property.
“Using such common objects as Model T wheels and sewing machine parts, making her own paint from the berries from the estate and hand mixed concrete using sand from Pope’s Creek, she created an emporium of architectural marvels, large was murals, and over 200 sculptures that were statements of her convictions, among them a Red Cross nurse of World War I, Women in Industry and a Gold Star Mother,” Gay said.
Grace Stallings, advocate of the Pope’s Museum, accepted the award on behalf of the recognized.
Closing remarks were given by Nancy Coleman and benediction was led by Kay Griffin Ragan before the museum and garden were opened to the attendees, where refreshments were provided.