Original article by The Daily Tribune News
Feburary 16, 2019
By Marie Nesmith

On Monday, Georgia Museum Inc.’s Bartow History Museum and Booth Western Art Museum will team up to highlight the “whole presidential journey.”

“Students of all ages are invited to attend, as they will be moving between the Booth museum and the Bartow History Museum learning about the different roles of the presidents,” BHM Program Manager Joshua Graham said. “We’ve done this program for a few years now, and response is always positive and attendance is growing. We served about 150 students last year, and we are preparing supplies for even more this year.

“Presidents Day is one of those holidays that sometimes slips by us, but we like highlighting how important the role is using the amazing Booth presidential letter gallery and objects from both of our [collections]. Additionally … artist Ross Rossin’s [Commanders] in Chief project and the awesome ‘Bob Kolbrener: 50 years in the West’ [exhibit], which highlights some great national parks, can show a lot of the diversity of responsibility the president must balance. We’ll have a special display of campaign buttons out at the Bartow History Museum, and so, in a lot of ways, we are going to be showing [the] whole presidential journey.”

Formed in 1987, BHM relocated its gift shop, multi-purpose room, and permanent and temporary exhibits to the 1869 Courthouse — at 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville — in December 2010. Divided into six galleries, the permanent exhibits include “A Sense of Place,” “Bartow Beginnings,” “Community Champions,” “People at Work,” “The Coming War” and “Toward New Horizons.”

While the BHM is normally open to the public on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Booth museum’s Monday programming is a rare occurrence.

“We have been opening on Presidents Day for the last three or four years,” said Seth Hopkins, executive director for the Booth. “It is the only Monday of the year we are open. With the great presidential collections we have and the programming we are able to offer, it seemed like an important thing to start doing. Especially this year with the Commanders in Chief project involving Ross Rossin painting in our galleries, we expect to have significant interest.

“The programming has always been well received. We target both home-schoolers and families with children who are out of school for the day. Our education department does a great job developing activities for families that is both fun and educational at the same time. … Among the activities are opportunities to meet the presidents in first person, as portrayed by museum staff, as well as hands-on art activities and other fun stations.”

On Monday, the Booth museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with programming scheduled continuously from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Situated at 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville, the Booth is known worldwide for its extensive collection of contemporary Western art. The 120,000-square-foot venue became an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2006. The museum offers a variety of exhibit spaces, some of which include the Civil War gallery; Sculpture Court; a presidential gallery; the Picturing America photography gallery; and the interactive children’s gallery, Sagebrush Ranch.

“The James and Carolyn Millar Presidential Gallery houses a one-paged signed letter by each president, paired with an image of each president. Many of the photographs were taken by Yousuf Karsh, one of the top portrait photographers of the 20th century,” Hopkins said. “There are also several sculptures of various presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, Jimmy Carter and Teddy Roosevelt.

“In the display case with the letter is information about their time in office and some trivia facts. My favorite fact is that Chester Arthur could write Greek with one hand and Latin with the other at the same time.”

As Hopkins noted, patrons also will be able to see Rossin in the midst of creating his large-scale presidential portrait project.

“Rossin completed first major presidential painting — now part of the Commanders in Chief project — in 2005 depicting all the presidents of the 20th century,” he said, referring to the 13-foot-by-20-foot painting. “It has been on view at the Booth since 2009 and has been for sale all of that time. When giving tours, I have mentioned it is for sale and let people know if it were purchased the artist would do a second painting of all the presidents of the 19th century as part of the deal and do it on-site in the museum.

“A Texas car dealer and rancher — Harry Patterson — toured in the summer of 2017 and let me know he was interested. He worked out a deal with Rossin and that set in motion the creation of the second painting, and now a third has been added with the three presidents of the 21st century.”

Further details about the Booth can be obtained by calling 770-387-1300 or visiting www.boothmuseum.org. For more information about the BHM and its exhibits and programs, call 770-382-3818 or visit www.bartowhistorymuseum.org.