Braselton’s history to be shown in new town museum
BY KERRI TESTEMENT
Jennifer Scott admits she’s not a museum curator but for the next month, she’s helping to prepare a collection of historical pieces that will be featured in a Braselton center.
The Town of Braselton is planning to open its own museum and visitor’s center on July 4 in the former library building.
Inside the estimated 600-square-foot building on Frances Street, are details of the town’s 90-year-plus history.
Photos from the former Braselton High School show athletic teams preparing for another season.
Newspaper articles from the former “Braselton Four-County Booster” highlight the area’s death notices, farm reports and advertisements for the Braselton Bros. Store.
And there are a few items from the “Basinger era,” when actress Kim Basinger and her business partners purchased a majority of the land in Braselton in the late 1980s.
That $20 million business deal brought international recognition to the town and Braselton was featured on a “People” magazine cover, Scott said.
Those are some of the past events that will highlight how Braselton became what it is today a rapidly-growing town spanning four counties.
Scott, who is the town’s manager, said the focal point of the museum will be Braselton’s uniqueness.
The Braselton family and its “Three Bs,” brothers Green, Henry and John, are largely responsible for establishing a popular store and school in the area in the early 1900s.
Most of the memorabilia for the museum are donated from the Braselton family, Scott said. The collections include those from Herman Braselton, Nell Braselton and Leta Braselton, who worked for Herman Talmadge, a former governor and U.S. Senator.
Council member Ralph Richardson Jr. will also provide items from the town’s past, including its first traffic light, Scott said.
One of the tasks in preparing the museum is figuring out who is shown in the boxes of photos donated from the Braselton family.
“It’s one of those project that I’m so glad we’re doing now, while there’s still people around who can tell me what year it was and who the people are in the photos,” Scott said.
The town plans to use the front room of the museum for a permanent collection of memorabilia. The back room which was once crammed with library books is now open for rotating exhibits for loaned items.
“A lot of people aren’t going to want to donate their materials, but they may want them displayed for a period of time,” Scott said.
Restoration of the building that was once the Braselton High School’s former home economics classroom began last fall, after the library moved to its new location on Ga. Hwy. 53 in October 2006.
The building was cleaned up, painted on the interior and given new carpet. The first historical items were moved into the facility around Christmas, Scott said.
A key task remaining for the town council: A name for the building.
Scott said the town council will be asked next week to give the building a name. Some possibilities include the Braselton history center, museum or visitor’s center.
“It may be more museum than visitor’s center,” Scott said.
The town is also planning to make the building a destination stop for tourists. Maps and brochures of area attractions may be included.
The Braselton Visitor’s Bureau Authority is expected to provide $35,000 for the building in a budget that starts on July 1. The visitor’s bureau collects money from a two percent hotel/motel tax, while another three percent hotel/motel tax is accounted in the town’s general budget.
Staffing the facility will largely depend on community support, Scott said.
The Braselton Library has a long list of volunteers and the town may ask them to help staff the museum, she added. Specific operating hours and days will depend on volunteer commitments.
Braselton officials hope to have the facility open on July 4, when the town will hold its annual Celebrate Braselton festival in the nearby town park.
“I definitely want to see this open for the festival,” Scott said.