Expansion Offers Space for More Museum Visitors, Community Resources
The new Cherokee County History Center at 221 E. Marietta St. in Canton is slated to open in the spring of 2022. The center will spotlight Cherokee County’s rich history from prehistoric times to the modern days of growth and development. In the Cherokee County History Museum’s former location, at the historic marble courthouse, attendance ranged from 2,000 to 4,000 annual visitors. It is estimated that the new center will welcome 20,000 visitors a year, who will engage with museum exhibits, research resources and quality programming.
Located in downtown Canton’s former police station, which is undergoing renovations and construction, the new history center will be headquarters for History Cherokee, formerly the Cherokee County Historical Society. The center will expand the reach and impact of History Cherokee’s activities by serving as a new cultural asset for the community, with engaging exhibits, enriching educational resources and comprehensive programming. When complete, the center will feature a state-of-the-art museum, with more than 5,000 square feet of exhibit space, as well as a research center and library, for a total of 11,000 square feet.
In late June, History Cherokee announced the official groundbreaking of the new history center. “This project has been years in the making, so we’re excited to begin construction,” Executive Director Stefanie Joyner said. “This expansion will allow us to reach a larger audience and really interact with our community. We can’t wait to open our doors.”
New features within the center will include a large projection wall showing videos chronicling the history and development of the county, tabletop touch screens allowing visitors to explore topics in great detail, and large-scale installations highlighting work and home life in Cherokee County over the centuries. The museum will feature educator-friendly resources, including an instructional guide with teaching standards, interactive children’s activities and a classroom for educational programming. It also will be a center for preservation advocacy, allowing for research into architectural history.
The main hall will play host to history programs. The research library will house information about historic buildings and local topics of interest. The climate-controlled archives room will house 120,000 items in the collection safely. The exhibit galleries will offer an engaging and mindful walk through Cherokee County’s history. Overall, the new center will allow History Cherokee to grow and reach a wider and more diverse audience, which will facilitate the preservation of our historic resources and the special places that make Cherokee County a great place to live, work and play.
From January 2020, to June 2021, more than 60 families, individuals, local governments, foundations and organizations made generous investments in the History in the Making Capital Campaign. During those 18 months, the campaign raised $2.5 million, about 90% percent of the initial $2.8M million fundraising goal, and it aims to exceed that mark through additional supporter initiatives.
“The level of community support for this project has been overwhelming and shows the deep commitment of those who live here to honor our history,” said Rebecca Johnston, the campaign co-chair. “This is a project that will benefit all Cherokee County residents, and that fact resonated with our investors. We are indebted to all those who have helped make this project possible.”
How You Can Help
Donations to the capital campaign are welcome. In the future, History Cherokee will need volunteers, researchers, members, patrons and participants to help with public programs and events at the museum. Stay tuned!
If you are interested in being a part in this transformational moment in Cherokee County history, please contact Stefanie Joyner at 770-345-3288, Ext. 1 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.