The Journal
The Latest from the History Center
Journal Newsletter November 25th - 29th
December 02, 2019

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By Executive Director Glen Kyle

As we approach the holidays, we usually (and hopefully!) take at least a few moments to consider the things that we are thankful for: Family, friends, a roof over our head and food in our bellies. But as someone fortunate enough to work in and with our wider community, I also want to take this time to reflect on how thankful I am for everyone who is a part of the History Center: the staff, the Board of Directors, the volunteers, the membership, all of our visitors... basically, everyone who makes the museum and all its programs possible.

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Children learning about food preparation and preservation through hands-on activities during a Family Day event

I'm thankful that our community sees the value in what we do and the importance of our mission. I'm thankful for everyone who gives of their time and/or their money to make sure we continue to succeed. I'm thankful for all the amazing folks who had the vision to create the History Center, folks like James Mathis, John Jacobs, Steve Gurr, Gwen Mundy, and Marvin Locey. I'm thankful that John Burd and Brenau University had the foresight to take a chance and place a museum dedicated to history on their campus. I'm thankful for some of our more recent donors, like Kay and Doug Ivester, Lynn and Mike Cottrell, and Janice and Jack Frost who have done so much to take us to the next level.

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History Center volunteers and performers

And most especially, and perhaps selfishly, I'm thankful for all those kids who come through the museum with a school group, or come to Family Day, or who watch our digital broadcasts... I'm so very thankful that they have granted me the opportunity to share what I love, and to (even in a small way) make a difference in their lives and how they see the world. Because in the end, that's what it's all about.

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Students meet Benedict Arnold during a live Webcast

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Our most popular onsite program is without question our Anglo-Cherokee Deer Skin Trade Living History presentation. As with all History Center programming, historical accuracy is paramount in giving students an experience of the reality of the past – and the Deer Skin program just got a lot more real! Last week we acquired an authentic reproduction 18th century English Trade Gun/Musket from Canada’s Loyalist Arms. While in the past we’ve used a decent, but different type, 18th century reproduction musket for the program, this English Trade Gun is correct not only in size, shape, color, and operation but also in markings and decoration. This attention to detail will help guests in tours and public programming have a more direct experience with the material culture of the time, and thus a better understanding of it. And oh yeah, Education Director Ken Johnston got to have fun test firing it – as the accompanying video and photos show!

Link to Video: Trade Gun Video

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This week From the Archives is a pamphlet entitled “100 Years of Sewing” by Julie Barker. The pamphlet was written in collaboration with Abram Pransky of the Pransky Sewing Machine Company in Hapeville, Georgia. Mr. Pransky was in the business of buying broken sewing machines and fixing them to sell; most of his clients were overseas. Mrs. Barker and Mr. Pransky wrote a timeline of the men responsible for the invention of the sewing machine, dating from the 1790s to the 1940s.

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This pamphlet came to us attached to a Jermome Sewing Machine from the 1950s, tied with rope to one of the legs of a sewing table. The owner of the pamphlet wrote a quote from Mahatma Gandhi on the cover, it says that a sewing machine “is one of the few useful things ever invented.”

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In this episode, Ken and Glen discuss the origins of Thanksgiving. When was the "first" Thanksgiving? How long have cultures had a day of thanks in the Fall? When did Thanksgiving become a national holiday in the United States? The answers to these questions and more in this latest episode!

Listen at this link: The "First" Thanksgiving

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Suggest a topic for an episode at

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Family Day: Victorian Christmas

Sunday, December 8 from 1-4 PM


Join us in December for our most popular event of the year – Victorian Christmas! A great event to attend before the Christmas parade begins (and there's plenty of parking!) With hands-on activities, music, dance, storytelling, and more you’ll be immersed in the holiday traditions of 120 years ago. Family Days are free to the public thanks to the Ada Mae Ivester Education Center

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For more fascinating photos and information on our region's past, follow our social media!



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Photograph of Clarkesville town square, some time in the 1940s. Pictured is the third Habersham County courthouse; the first became a bank in the 1830s, the second burned down in the 1890s.


The Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University - 322 Academy St NE Gainesville, GA 30501 - 770.297.5900 -