Newspaper Articles & Books
Library of Congress
Missing Pieces Exhibit: Pope’s Museum, Pelham, Georgia (1 of 6)
Missing Pieces Exhibit: Pope’s Museum, Pelham, Georgia (2 of 6)
Missing Pieces Exhibit: Pope’s Museum, Pelham, Georgia (3 of 6)
Missing Pieces Exhibit: Pope’s Museum, Pelham, Georgia (4 of 6)
Missing Pieces Exhibit: Pope’s Museum, Pelham, Georgia (5 of 6)
Missing Pieces Exhibit: Pope’s Museum, Pelham, Georgia (6 of 6)
Letters of Support
Grady County Historical Society, LLC
It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of support for the restoration of Pope’s Museum.
This long-neglected museum has been a stain on the cultural and historical heritage of Grady County, Georgia. It took a person with the vision and persistence of Michelle Dean to recognize this valuable site of Americana and what it could become. The restoration of’ Pope’s Museum, its building, grounds and artwork is not only a worthy cause. it is an imperative one. Decades of neglect and outright vandalism have taken their toll.
From my perspective as an historian, it is clear that this property should never have been so ignored. From a cultural perspective it must be preserved and restored as one of the folk art gems of this nation. It is a community treasure and a national treasure.
We are fortuanant that Ms. Dean not only has concern and the persistence to see this project to its conclusion, she also has access to outside resources and expects to see it is done right. In addition, she has the support and encouragement of this entire community.
Dort Nickerson. Museum Administrator
Grady County Chamber of Commerce
To Whom it May Concern
This letter serves as an expression of our support of Mrs. Michelle Dean and the Pope Museum Preservation Project. We at theCairo|Grady County Chamber of Commerce care greatly about the preservation of our local landmarks and historic sites. Pope Museum is a historical site that impacts our community both culturally and economically.The restoration and rehabilitation oft his museum have great potential for increasing the economic development for Grady County.This project would impact many different avenues of economic development. A major tourist attraction in our community with historical significance, an educational destination, and as a special events venue with cultural value, Pope Museum will drive economic growth. An increase in tourism due to the Pope Museum would impact our local economy in a positive manner. Tourists would stay at our hotels, dine at local restaurants, and purchase goods with area retailers. This would circulate revenue back into our community while supporting Grady County businesses. There are a great number of economic impacts the PopeMuseum Project has to offer Grady County.
We have seen first-hand the time, effort, and continuous work that Michelle and her team are putting into restoring this historical site. They are working extremely hard to bring the museum to standard and our community fully supports their efforts.
Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.
David Trey Gainous
Cairo|Grady County Chamber of Commerce
American Legion Post 122
To Whom it may concern:
On behalf of American Legion Post 122, Cairo, Georgia and it’s 200 plus members, I wish to communicate our strong and continued support for The Popes Museum Preservation, Inc.
This noble and worthy effort spearheaded by its Executive Director, Michelle Dean, deserves the recognition and respect that is due for not just a community but a national treasure. As a Chattered Member of the largest Veteran Service Organization in The United States, we are proud of what this house and grounds symbolize for honored American Military and civilian patriots.
Any contributions or financial support you might offer for the efforts of Popes Museum Preservation would be appreciated.
R. Tom Brown
High Museum of Art Atlanta
Thank you for reaching out to The High Museum. We are three thrilled to hear you have acquired Laura Pope, Forresters’ home and museum and are beginning to explore preservation options for the site. The department of Folk and Self-taught Art at The High Museum express our enthusiastic support for this effort, and would like to provide some historical precedents that may help your case in this letter. The practice of artistic environments has historic and important routes in and around the Southeast (especially in Georgia). Most notably, there are two sites that have been recently preserved, which in their time served as an important destination for artist, enthusiast, musicians, and curators for decades. They now attract visitors from all over the country:
- Pasaquan in Columbus, GA built by Eddie “St. EOM” Martins
- Paradise Garden in Summerville, GA built by Howard Finster
- Ava Maria Grotto in Cullman, AL
Sadly, sometimes these environments do not survive to be preserved and are dismantled, or destroyed often against the artists will or after their death. This prevents their art from being enjoyed and understood, and its original contacts and scrubs, the communities of these unique, invaluable, local treasures.
Artist Nellie Mae Rowes, home, which she called the Playhouse, in Vinings, Georgia was a local treasure and popular destination that was sadly destroyed shortly after her death.
Living Atlanta-based artist and musician, Lonnie Holley had his art environment, condemned and destroyed by the Birmingham airport authority in 1997. He now works in Atlanta and has found a Normas success in both the main stream and self-taught, art worlds, including exhibitions at Atlanta, contemporary Art Center, mass, MOCA, and inclusion in forthcoming exhibitions at the met (New York,), and the Deyoung museum (San Francisco).
There are tens of other examples of important folk and self-taught art environments that have been sites of pilgrimage, tourism, praise, and collected by Major Art institutions, such as the Smithsonian Museum of American art. The Kohler foundation in Wisconsin has been actively preserving and restoring many of these environments, and ensuring their continued stewardship through the country. They have published a book about Art environments, and their preservation efforts which we encourage you to get a copy of:
Best of luck in your endeavors,
Curatorial Assistant | Photography and Folk & Self-Taught Art
Killearn United Methodist Church
Nestled within a pecan grove, a home built in the 1950’s, Pope’s Museum has seen authentic and beautiful transformation under the vision of Michelle Dean, proprietor. Ignored and abused in times past, Michelle has breathed new life into the history of this Grady County property, receiving the prestigious award of being recognized on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The estate was initially owned and established by well-known local artist and patriot, Laura Pope, Forrester, who created many statues on the property for the purpose of honoring those serving in WWI, as well as their families. Michelle brings forth the history of a bygone era with great passion as she welcomes both private and public groups to share in this unique historic site, that she and her family now call home.
Killearn United Methodist Church
On May 4, 2019 a group from KUNC rode the church bus to Popes Museum in Ochlockne, Georgia for a wonderful luncheon and tour.
We arrived at Popes Museum in time for lunch. The house and grounds were beautiful.
After a delicious catered lunch. We began our tour. Michelle Dean was our gracious hostess and tour guide her knowledge about the home, it’s original owner, and history kept us hanging on her every word.
God is at the center of everything she says, and does. Michelle told many stories about how God has been with them and all she and her family have done to get the museum ready for visitors. After meeting her, we came away, knowing a great deal about the owner Laura Pope Forrester. She treated all of us as if we were close friends visiting her home.