"What I enjoy most about working at the Bartow History Museum is learning something new every day about our rich and interesting past," he said. "I enjoy visiting with people who have stories to share or who want to donate to the museum historic objects or photographs that illustrate Bartow County's past. Holding those pieces of our history and helping to ensure they are preserved for future generations is a rewarding part of my job."
Preparing to celebrate the museum's 25th anniversary on March 30, Gaines is delighted to see the BHM's offerings currently based at the 1869 Courthouse. Referring to it as his greatest professional achievement, he helped relocate the venue's gift shop, multi-purpose room, and permanent and temporary exhibits to the historic building -- 4. E. Church St. in Cartersville -- in December 2010. Divided into six galleries, the museum's permanent exhibits include "A Sense of Place," "Bartow Beginnings," "Community Champions," "People at Work," "The Coming War" and "Toward New Horizons."
Serving as Bartow's courthouse from 1869 to 1902, the two-story brick building was utilized for a variety of purposes in the 1900s, some of which include a roller skating rink, furniture store and warehouse. Sitting vacant since the 1980s, the building under the Church Street Bridge was acquired by the city of Cartersville in 1995 and was renovated with $1.7 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
Name: Trey Gaines
City of residence: Cartersville
Family: Wife, Beth, a teacher at Cartersville Elementary School; married for 13.5 years; two daughters, Margaret, 9, and Meredith, 6; two dogs, Henry and Murray
Education: B.A. History, Lyon College, Batesville, Ark.; M.A. Public History, University of West Georgia
Occupation: Director, Bartow History Museum
When did you become the director of the Bartow History Museum and why did you want to be a part of this organization?
A: I have worked at the Bartow History Museum for 12 years, with the last four as director. I have always loved history, and was very fortunate to move to Cartersville after graduating from college and to find a job with a great museum and organization. Bartow County has so much history, and I am happy to be a part of preserving it.
How has the 1869 Courthouse enhanced the museum's offerings?
A: It has been the dream of the BHM to be in the 1869 Courthouse for many years, and it is very exciting for all of us to finally see that dream become a reality. The additional space in the courthouse allowed us to expand exhibits and add some new ones. We are also able to now do the bulk of our programming in the museum. The move into the 1869 Courthouse has been a long time coming, and to be celebrating our 25th anniversary in this historic building soon after our first year of residence is very special.
What are your goals for the museum in the next five or 10 years?
A: I would like to see the museum attract new audiences and visitors, from both the local population as well as travelers. Every day, we look for new programs and exhibit ideas that will be interesting and educational for our visitors, and we want the public to enjoy and learn from the resources available here at the museum.
What is your favorite exhibit at the Bartow History Museum and why?
A: I never get tired of just walking through the museum. I don't necessarily have an overall favorite exhibit, but there are features and components of several exhibits that I really like. For example, the vignettes that depict different home settings at different time periods and the audio and video clips featured in several exhibits add dimension and layers of understanding to life in the past.
What special events/exhibits do you have coming up that will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War?
A: In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Bartow History Museum and the Booth museum will host a special one-day event called "Civil War Comes Alive" on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event includes demonstrations of cannon firings, soldier life, music, home front and more. The 8th Regiment Band will also have two concerts during the day. We'll also have a number of lectures, tours and other programs related to the Civil War over the next several years.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
A: I would say my greatest professional achievement so far is being part of the team that recreated and moved the BHM into the 1869 Courthouse.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
A: Dependable, hardworking, involved
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I'm the oldest of five brothers, all of whom are Eagle Scouts, and I grew up outside of Baton Rouge, La.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I like to spend time with my family, read and take an occasional nap.
Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
A: Other than my home, my favorite place to be in Bartow County is downtown Cartersville. We have a beautiful, diverse, vibrant downtown.