The Junior Board of Trustees of the Watson-Brown Foundation was recently invited to the state capitol.
Dorothy Olson, director for the Georgia Capitol Museum, extended the invitation to the group of local high school students whose mission is to preserve history. Ms. Olson's grant request involves a flag from the Mexican War period bearing the date 1846 which was taken from a residence during Sherman's occupation of Louisville, Ga., and found in Ohio. The flag has the state's coat of arms and the name of Jefferson Riflemen on the field.
Members of the Junior Board pose with the state capitol in the background.
Special to The Mirror
After a two-year effort to secure the flag and with the interest of the Junior Board, Ms. Olson has secured the return of the flag to Georgia. Currently, through funding by the Junior Board, this beautiful silk flag is being conserved by Fonda Thomsen at her studio in Maryland.
"Like a work of art, a fabric can be destroyed if not properly handled," stated Ms. Olson. "We do not restore a flag, but care for it through conservation, cleaning, stabilization and pressure mount framing."
Upon completion of Ms. Thomsen's work, the 1846 flag will be housed in the Georgia State Capitol Collection of Confederate Flags and will be the earliest flag in the collection.
"This effort, made possible by the Junior Board, will return this magnificent flag to the people of Georgia, preserved for future generations," said Mary Anne Coussons, director of the board.
Following the Capitol visit, board members enjoyed the rare opportunity of visiting the Immaculate Conception Church. In 1864, Sherman planned to burn every building which he felt the Confederates would consider necessary and important in downtown Atlanta. Father O'Reilly, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church, realized what a devastating loss this would be to the people of Atlanta and convinced Sherman to spare the church.
To complete the trip, the Junior Board traveled to the Atlanta Cyclorama to view this unusual art form of the battle of Atlanta.
With the year drawing to a close, the Junior Board is completing their research, pre-grant inquiries and site visits to award their $25,000 in annual grants for worthwhile preservation projects.
This year's board includes Andrew Brown - President, T.J. Mimbs - Vice President, Benjamin Porter - Treasurer and LeAnn Walton - Secretary. Other members include Jordan Gregory, Jessica Bell, Morgan Lamon, Lauren Brown, Edee Carey, Jenni Holes and Samuel Gaston.