Photo: Georgia Historical Society

The Georgia Historical Society announced last week that the 2020 Georgia History Festival, which culminated on February 15, 2020, with the Trustees Gala, has surpassed all previous institutional fundraising milestones by raising a record $1,625,000 for K-12 educational programs in Georgia.

“This is an incredible achievement for GHS that would not have been possible without our 2020 Georgia History Festival Co-Chairs, Ed Bastian and Paul Bowers (Atlanta), and Dr. William T. ‘Ted’ and Linda Moore (Savannah), and the entire Georgia History Festival Committee who worked so tirelessly to reach and surpass the original goal of $1.5 million,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “Because of their efforts and the generosity of our corporate sponsors and individual donors who support the Georgia History Festival each year,” he added, “GHS will continue to bring exceptional educational programming to future generations of Georgians.”

The Georgia History Festival is the signature K-12 educational program of the Georgia Historical Society that teaches history to approximately 250,000 students statewide. Beginning with the new school year in September, a variety of public programs, exhibits, in-school events, and educational resources bring history to life for students of all ages. Thanks to a partnership with Georgia Press Association, GHS will make additional educational materials related to the Georgia History Festival theme, “Women’s Suffrage at 100: The 19th Amendment and Georgia History,” available to teachers and students across the state. The publication will be available for download through the Georgia Historical Society and the Georgia Press Association website.

The Festival concludes in February, the founding month of the Georgia colony, with Founding City events like the popular Colonial Faire and Muster living-history program held at Wormsloe State Historic Site, Savannah’s colorful Georgia Day Parade, and the annual Trustees Gala. The funds raised will go directly toward creating and delivering educational programs that teach history to 2nd and 8th grade Georgia students, teacher training opportunities, research services, publications, and specialized care for the 5 million documents, photographs, rare books, and artifacts that make up the oldest collection of Georgia history archival materials in the nation. Each year the Georgia Historical Society collection is used by more than 60,000 scholars, researchers, and genealogists representing every state and many countries around the world.

During this year’s Festival, GHS education staff conducted dozens of in-school programs and professional development training sessions for students and teachers across Georgia focusing on new, standards-based resources created in support of this year’s educational focus, the struggle for women’s suffrage. Made available online for free download through the Festival website, these resources include the “Winning the Vote: Women’s Suffrage in Georgia” middle school project box and “Finding My Voice” elementary school resources that explore the women’s suffrage movement in Georgia. These lasting online materials will extend the Georgia History Festival’s impact throughout the year-long centennial commemoration of the passage of the 19th Amendment, providing support for teachers and students throughout this anniversary year and beyond!

The statewide impact of the Georgia History Festival cannot be underestimated as Super Museum Sunday featured 134 sites across Georgia that opened their doors free of charge on February 9. Additionally, over 3,000 students representing a record-breaking 42 schools marched in the 2020 Georgia Day Parade.

The Trustees Gala is the Georgia Historical Society’s premier annual event and the culmination of the Georgia History Festival. Each year, this elegant and much-anticipated evening draws top local, state, and national leaders to honor and pay tribute to the best the State of Georgia has produced.

The 2020 Gala featured Governor Brian Kemp’s induction of Robert L. Brown, Jr., President and CEO of R.L. Brown & Associates, Inc., renowned architect and civic leader, and Robert S. Jepson, Jr., Founder and CEO of Jepson Associates, Inc., philanthropist and visionary entrepreneur.

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