Northeast Georgia History Center offers membership opportunity to Brenau employees

Dr. Andrea Birch, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities, also sits on the board of the Northeast Georgia History Center.
Dr. Andrea Birch, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities, also sits on the board of the Northeast Georgia History Center.

Because the two institutions are so entwined geographically and operationally, it is sometimes difficult to determine where Brenau University ends and the Northeast Georgia History Center begins. However, leadership of both of the independent institutions are pushing to blur the lines a little more by actively recruiting  – and encouraging – Brenau faculty and stuff to become more engaged with the history center.

Starting Monday, Aug. 17, faculty and staff will receive membership invitations to join the not-for-profit history center. The information packets will be given to employees during a university-wide meeting held 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Pearce Auditorium. But, you also could simply go to the website and join at

Fine Arts and Humanities Dean Andrea Birch, a new member of the history center board of directors, leads the charge to get more university people involved.

“I was surprised by how few faculty have actually been to the history center,” she said. “I am hoping that the faculty will take advantage of the history center and encourage students to attend their events and exhibits. It’s a wonderful resource.”

Northeast Georgia History Center Executive Director Glen Kyle said very few colleges have museums of such a high quality on campus.

“Our exhibitions, collections, educational outreach and focus on cooperation with educational institutions and public schools are a tangible connection to our past,” he said. “We provide that all-important sense of place for this wonderful region to the current and future generations.”

There are seven membership levels, ranging from the $35 individual annual pass to the $500 curator package that includes gift shop and facility rental discounts as well as exclusive previews of new exhibitions.

“We are reaching out to others on campus who may not know of our connection to Brenau and our mission to preserve and share the history of Northeast Georgia,” said Martha Jacobs, who sits on the history center’s membership committee. “Our programs focus on education for the whole family and are of interest to the entire community.”

The two institutions cemented their relationship in the 1990s when Brenau dedicated a tract of land to the history center for construction of the new building and leased the parcel to the center on an extremely long-term lease for a minuscule fee. The building opened in 2004, and it is often used for Brenau events. Although the history center is an independent organization, all history center employees have Brenau email addresses and telephone extensions. The principal mover of the development of the center was Martha Jacob’s late husband, John, who also happened to be at the time of the development the chairman of Brenau University Board of Trustees.

The history center, 322 Academy St. NE in Gainesville, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.