Bandy Heritage Center

Help Us Make History!

A Guide to Donating Artifacts, Photographs, and Archival Records

The Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia collects and preserves photographs, documents, and objects of significance to the history of our region’s many communities. We make these collections accessible to the public by providing research access, curated museum exhibits, and educational programs on local history and artifact preservation. Our goal is to grow and preserve a collection that reflects the most comprehensive account of regional history possible. We simply do not know which aspects of our history will interest future generations; as a museum and an archival repository, we strive to encompass the depth, breadth, vitality, and humanity of the people who have shaped our region.

Personal materials like photographs, diaries, letters, tools, and clothing hold vital and unique information regarding your life, or the history of your family and its place in our region. These items obviously matter to you, and they may be important to your community, too! When you donate your personal or family records to the Bandy Center, you are securing your, your family’s, or your business’ legacy in Northwest Georgia’s collective memory.

In accordance with standards set by the American Alliance of Museums, the American Association for State and Local History, and the Society of American Archivists, the Bandy Center carefully preserves its holdings in a climate-controlled, secure archive. Our trained specialists will arrange, describe, and house your donation in appropriate archival materials to ensure their availability to your family and your community for generations to come. Museums and archives are only as good as the objects, photos, and documents they use to interpret the stories of the past. Help us make history by sharing yours!

What Kinds of Materials Does the Bandy Heritage Center Collect?

It depends! While some artifacts and objects will be displayed in museum exhibits, other records and documents provide vital information that makes those exhibits possible. Many types of material may be valuable to our exhibit curators, to future researchers, or to the general public. To ensure the accuracy, integrity, and authority of the collection, the Bandy Center prefers original materials. We endeavor to preserve our region’s history with as few degrees of separation from those stories as possible. We depend on the materials we collect to connect future generations to the past, and there simply is no substitute for archivally preserved original objects, photographic prints, or documents.

You might be surprised what kinds of historically significant materials you possess! The materials we seek are not always “old,” nor do they need to relate to someone “famous.” Your family papers need not even be organized. Historical significance takes many forms, especially in a region with our unique industrial and demographic history, and the Bandy Center staff will be happy to work with you to determine the historical value of your materials. Arranging a donation is as simple as giving us a call! We’ll be happy to discuss your materials with you, and we can arrange a house call to meet you wherever your materials are stored. From a single photograph to a storage unit full of boxes, if you can arrange access to your materials, we can take care of the rest.

If you were to tell the story of Northwest Georgia—or of Dalton, Ringgold, Calhoun, Chatsworth, or Layfayette—in one hundred objects, what would those objects be? Perhaps you would include Cherokee artifacts, Civil War relics, or a hand-tufted bedspread. But you might also include a playbook from a local football team, a menu from a local restaurant, a sample book from a carpet manufacturer, photos from the Blizzard of ’93, or more.

Our collecting mission is defined regionally—that is, we collect items of importance to a seven-county area of Northwest Georgia that includes Murray, Whitfield, Catoosa, Walker, Dade, Chattooga, and Gordon Counties. Within that regional focus, our interest is broad and comprehensive. Briefly, the materials we seek include but are not limited to:

  • Business history--general: advertising, branded materials, signs & signage, pamphlets, brochures, and business records like articles of incorporation, bylaws, employee directories and rosters, uniforms, equipment & tools
  • Business history—carpet & tufting: product samples, promotional materials, contracts and business records, tools & equipment unique to the carpet industry
  • Civic and governmental history: city directories, maps & atlases, real estate records, deeds, blueprints, registries and permit books/indexes, ledgers, law enforcement & justice-system records like booking documents
  • Leisure and lived history: restaurant menus, memorabilia from concerts and events, cookbooks, parks & recreation history, tourism history from places like Lake Winnepesaukah and Rock City
  • Media history: audio/visual recordings, news media history, film reels & cassettes, albums by local musicians or recorded at local companies, newspapers, local publications like magazines and newsletters
  • Military history: enlistment records, documents, uniforms, installation records from local bases like Fort Oglethorpe
  • Personal & family history: letters and correspondence, scrapbooks, memoirs, oral histories, genealogical materials, notebooks/journals/diaries, wills and legal documents
  • Photographs: original prints, negatives, slides, and stereograms, depicting any and all parts of regional life
  • Political history: campaign memorabilia, speech recordings & transcripts
  • Religious history: church bulletins & newsletters, religious records, family Bibles, ritual implements and worship materials
  • School history: yearbooks, uniforms, programs, report cards, school spirit materials, equipment

In all, we collect anything that adds to the story of Northwest Georgia! If you have any questions concerning the donation process or the work of the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia, please contact Project Director Brian Hilliard. Thank you!