Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia recently received an award from the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation for outstanding publication or program for its exhibition and accompanying book “Georgia Bellflowers: The Furniture of Henry Eugene Thomas.” Focusing on the work of cabinetmaker and antiques collector Gene Thomas, a native Athenian who helped shape the focus of decorative arts collecting in the state, both the exhibition and the book relied on the substantial primary research and scholarship of Ashley Callahan. Formerly the curator of the museum’s Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts, Callahan is now an independent scholar.
“If not for Ashley’s work on this project, Gene Thomas’s story could easily have been lost,” said Hillary Brown, the museum’s director of communications. “Her diligence and doggedness on the trail of that narrative paid off impressively, in an exhibition and book that are of tremendous value for local history and the growing history of Colonial Revival decorative arts.”
Callahan donated her research files to the Green Center, where other scholars will be able to access them.
The Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation was founded in 1967 to save Athens’ oldest residence, the Church-Waddel-Brumby House, from the wholesale demolition that erased the entire Lickskillet neighborhood in downtown Athens. The Heritage Foundation became the leading advocate for the importance of historic preservation and continues to be a proactive force in developing community-wide understanding of the value of historic buildings, neighborhoods and heritage.
Each year, the foundation recognizes property owners who have gone above and beyond in caring for their historic properties by presenting preservation awards for outstanding historic rehabilitations, restorations and stewardship. It also recognizes outstanding new construction in historic areas, outstanding publications and programs, and more. Since 1969, the foundation has presented more than 300 awards at its annual spring meeting.
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The council is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the University of Georgia East Campus. The address is 90 Carlton Street, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-6719. For more information, including hours, see http://www.georgiamuseum.org or call 706/542-GMOA (4662).