Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tellus Science Museum Passes 200,000 Visitors for 2009

/PRNewswire/ -- Tellus Science Museum welcomed its 200,000th visitor on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009, less than a year after the museum opened its doors.

Tellus was originally projecting 150,000 visitors in its first full year of operation, but the year has been full of milestones for the museum. Earlier this month Tellus' digital planetarium celebrated 100,000 visitors.

"I am so pleased to get this support from our members and visitors," said Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria. "It has exceeded all our expectations and I hope this means Tellus has something unique to offer to everyone."

Carey Merritt and her two children, Margaret Ann and Walker, were surprised to find they were the lucky visitors.

"We were joking about it walking up the door that it might be us," said 9-year-old Walker. "It's very exciting."

This was the Merritt's first visit to Tellus. The Marietta, Georgia family had heard plenty of good things about the museum and decided to check it out themselves.

"We had some friends who told us how great it was," Carey Merritt said. "We figured we would come and see it."

Tellus now sits in the location of the original Weinman Mineral Museum and spans 120,000 square feet on more than 40 acres. Tellus features four galleries: Weinman Mineral Gallery; Fossil Gallery; Science in Motion, a journey through the development of motorized transportation; Collins Family Big Backyard, a hands-on activity gallery for children; and the digital planetarium.

With 200,000 visitors already notched, the museum is looking forward to a great second year in 2010.

"We have more exciting exhibits, planetarium shows and events coming up next year, so our returning visitors will have many new things to see and do. I would like to thank our local community from all over the Southeast - we could not have done this without you," Santamaria said. "I hope to continue to earn everyone's support by keeping Tellus as a place worth coming back to."

For more information about Tellus Science Museum call 770-606-5700 or visit

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Electric Lights on a Christmas Tree? The Tale of a Glowing History

Dec. 22, 1882: Looking at Christmas in a New Light

1882: An inventive New Yorker finds a brilliant application for electric lights and becomes the first person to use them as Christmas tree decorations.

Edward H. Johnson, who toiled for Thomas Edison’s Illumination Company and later became a company vice president, used 80 small red, white and blue electric bulbs, strung together along a single power cord, to light the Christmas tree in his New York home. Some sources credit Edison himself with being the first to use electric lights as Christmas decorations, when he strung them around his laboratory in 1880.

Sticking them on the tree was Johnson’s idea, though. It was a mere three years after Edison had demonstrated that light bulbs were practical at all.

The idea of replacing the Christmas tree’s traditional wax candles — which had been around since the mid-17th century — with electric lights didn’t, umm, catch fire right away......

By Terry Long

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Piecing Together the Past

The award-winning Center for Public History at the University of West Georgia recently completed a project for the City of Bremen that will enhance the culture and quality of life for this small rural community.

Graduate students in the Introduction to Public History class worked together on projects for the city and presented their finished work to Bremen Mayor Sharon Sewell and the Better Hometown Manager Neile Chambers.

Bremen has a population of less than 5,000 residents and is located several miles west of the university. Settled by German immigrants, the town was incorporated with the name of the German town Bremen in 1883.

The history students developed an outline for a walking tour of downtown Bremen, a library exhibit and a Traveling Trunk exhibit on the history of the city, a guide to developing a volunteer program and a marketing plan for the future Bremen History Center.

The Traveling Trunk is an educational tool used in public and private schools. The history exhibit is now on display at the Warren P. Sewell Memorial Library in Bremen.

The project was supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly.

The Center for Public History has received many awards and recognition for its preservation of the region’s history through student and faculty research projects that include: “It Was Passed Down from Generation to Generation: Baking Traditions in the West Georgia Piedmont,” a part of the traveling Smithsonian’s “Key Ingredients” exhibit; and “Powder Springs Has Some Deep Roots In It,” a study of the history of the African American community in Powder Springs.

The history center is located in Pafford Hall on the university campus. The center creates and maintains archives for all of its research and fieldwork activities and is open to the public for research Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on history projects completed and underway, contact Center Directors Dr. Ann McCleary or Dr. Keith Hebert or call 678-839-6141.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

President Approves $470 Million Budget for National Archives

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has received a Fiscal Year 2010 budget of $469,870,000 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, December 16.

The overall appropriation of $469,870,000 is an increase of 2.31 percent over last year's funding of $459,277,000.

"Given these difficult economic times, we are extremely grateful to the Congress and the President for the generous FY 2010 appropriations. We will be able to continue to fund our core programs, offer the same high standard of services to our researchers and the public, and complete much-needed repairs and renovation of the Franklin Roosevelt Library," said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.

"We are particularly pleased with the historic increase in the allocation for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission," he added. "This will allow us to further support the nation's network of archives at a time when there is a critical need to make the materials available to all Americans."

For NARA's Operating Expenses for FY 2010, the President and Congress have provided $339,770,000, an increase from last year's appropriation of $330,308,000. The increase will cover the costs of inflationary increases in rent, energy, security and staff costs for NARA facilities at 44 locations around the country.

The Operating Expenses account also includes funding for 12 new entry-level archivists who will enter NARA's Archivist Development Program, as well as for personnel for the new Office of Government Information Services and the new Controlled Unclassified Information Office, which is part of the Information Security Oversight Office.

For continued development of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA), Congress appropriated $85,500,000, up from last year's appropriation of $67,008,000. This will allow further progress toward providing public access to the ERA, which eventually will allow anyone, anywhere, at any time to access electronic records held by NARA. This budget will also allow NARA to begin to establish the preservation framework for the system.

For repairs and renovations at NARA-owned facilities, the lawmakers appropriated $27,500,000. This includes $17,500,000 as the last installment for repairs and renovations at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York. The Roosevelt Library is the oldest of the 13 Presidential libraries administered by NARA.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making arm of the Archives, will receive $13,000,000, up from last year's $11,250,000. In the FY 2010 appropriation, $4,500,000 is set aside for providing online access to the papers of the Founding Fathers, as was requested in the President's budget.

The appropriations legislation also directs NARA to report to the House and Senate appropriations committees within 30 days of enactment on "information security improvements made or planned" and "to promptly inform relevant committees of jurisdiction when any formal law enforcement investigation is commenced into alleged theft of electronic or other materials which may contain personally identifying information."

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Victorian Christmas Found in Jonesboro

In addition to being made famous by Margaret Mitchell in "Gone with the Wind," Jonesboro also holds other great treasures of the past.

Take some time this Christmas season and treat yourself to a Victorian Christmas at Stately Oaks Plantation.

Stately Oaks Plantation is an 1839 Greek Revival style home which is chock full of history. Christmas season hours are 10 am -4 pm.

For more information, go to

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Papers of career federal government official to come to Russell Library

The papers and memorabilia compiled by Powell A. Moore during a Washington career of more than 43 years have a home at the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia.

“This is an exciting collection for us in that it covers post World War II world affairs and intersects with so many of our other collections,” said Sheryl Vogt, director of the Russell Library.“Certainly, Mr. Moore’s service with Senator Russell is significant to the library, but his career work with several presidents, including national campaigns, and, in particular, his unique experience in legislative oversight of defense and diplomacy matters will be of tremendous research value.”

A 1959 graduate of UGA, Moore was press secretary for U.S. Sen. Russell from October 1966 until the senator’s death in January 1971.Following his service with Russell, Moore remained active in national and international governmental and political affairs. Most recently, he was the representative of the U.S. Secretary of Defense to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, based in Vienna, Austria.This organization of 56 nations is an outgrowth of the Helsinki Accords of 1975 and is focused on conflict prevention on the Eurasian landmass.Moore held this position from April 2006 until January 2009.

In the first term of the George W. Bush Administration (2001-2005), Moore was the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs and received the Defense Department’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service for his leadership in this position.He held the comparable position at the Department of State in the first term of President Ronald Reagan (1982-1983), giving him the unique experience of having been both an assistant secretary of defense and an assistant secretary of state.

Moore was on the White House legislative affairs staff under Presidents Nixon and Ford in 1973 and 1974 and under Reagan in 1981.In the first year of the Reagan administration, before transferring to the State Department, he managed the Senate component of the White House legislative affairs office.In this position, he oversaw the Senate confirmation of Reagan’s initial wave of nominees including the confirmation of Sandra Day O’Connor as the first woman associate justice of the United State Supreme Court.

As a government official, Moore has traveled to more than 60 nations and has joined congressional leaders for numerous meetings with heads of state and senior cabinet ministers.

From 1998 until May 2001 when Moore was nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to be a senior defense official, he was chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee.Thompson was chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.

Moore’s executive branch experience includes 14 months in 1971 and 1972 as deputy director of public information for the U. S. Department of Justice.

Moore began his federal service in 1959 as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, where he served more than three and a half years.He was assigned to a combat ready infantry division in Germany for two years and was on duty in Germany when the Berlin Wall was erected in1961.

Moore also has been actively involved in presidential politics.He was a fulltime member of the presidential campaign staffs of Nixon in 1972, Ford in 1976 and Reagan in 1980.He also has worked in a part time, voluntary capacity on the general election campaigns of George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992, of Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000, as well as on the South Carolina primary campaign of John McCain in 2000.In addition, he has been a member of the staff providing operational support for eight Republican conventions from 1972 until 2000.

His active involvement in the campaign of Nixon in 1972 led to a requirement that he testify during the Watergate investigations.

In addition to his federal service, Moore has had more than 20 years of experience advising and representing clients on public policy and legislation in Washington.He has worked on a wide variety of issues for a diversity of international clients from Europe and Asia, as well as numerous domestic clients.

Moore was born in Milledgeville on Jan. 5, 1938.He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the university’s Henry Grady College in 1959.He also attended preparatory school at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville.

In 1985, he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Grady College and in 2008, he was honored as a Grady Fellow.

Moore and his wife, Pamla, live in Washington, D.C. and have two daughters, two sons and six grandchildren.

The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, established in 1974 upon donation of the late senator’s collection, serves as a center for research and study of the modern American political system. With particular emphasis on the role of Georgia and the U. S. Congress, collection development and programming focus on the dynamic relationship of politics, policy, and culture—generated wherever public interest intersects with government. The breadth and depth of Russell Library’s nearly 300 collections provide an interconnected framework of perspectives and experiences for understanding the increasingly diverse people, events, and ideas shaping modern Georgia’s political landscape.

The Russell Library pursues alliances and opportunities for collaboration with individuals and organizations that advance its mission.The Library is a founding member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and a primary partner and official repository for UGA’s Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, a collaborative project dedicated to documenting and chronicling the activity and perceptions of lesser known participants in the civil rights movement in Georgia. The Russell Libraryis alsodedicated to developing and presentingpublic programming and educational materials thatfacilitate and encourage research, raise public awareness of the library and its collections and services, and provide learning opportunities for the communities it serves.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Berry to Begin Replacement of Historic Oaks Lining Road of Remembrance, Memorial Drive

For nearly a century, visitors to Berry College have enjoyed the beauty and shade of a towering allée (pathway) of oak trees planted in the early 1920s to honor the 11 Berry boys who were killed during World War I. Today, campus officials are taking steps to ensure that this living memorial continues to provide inspiration for decades to come.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor who has given $50,000 in support of the project, work crews are moving forward with a replacement plan for the allée, which lines the Road of Remembrance from Morgan and Deerfield halls to the four-way stop at the log cabins, then turns left on Memorial Drive to the war memorial near old Victory Lake.

In the coming weeks, approximately 130 willow oaks will be planted along this stretch of roadway. At the same time, a dozen of the older trees that are diseased and reaching the end of their lifespan will be removed.

The new trees, each 15-20 feet tall and weighing 2,000 pounds, are being supplied by Select Trees in Athens, a firm specializing in large “sustainable” trees possessing superior insect and disease resistant foliage as well as an ability to fix carbon dioxide at higher rate, thus allowing for faster growth. The new allée will consist of willow oaks, which have a much longer lifespan than the original trees (mostly water oaks), one-third of which have already been lost due to drought and disease.

Preparations for the planting began in November when Berry’s landscape master planner flagged the areas where the new trees will be located. They will be planted behind the current rows, mostly alternating between the existing trees.

According to Berry President Steve Briggs, projects such as this one are one way in which the college honors founder Martha Berry’s conviction that “beauty is part of education.”

“Martha Berry wanted the campus to be inspirational,” Dr. Briggs explained. “She believed strongly that beauty had the power to stir the imagination and to cultivate civility and hope. As an institution, we are committed to preserving and enhance the amazing campus she has left for us. This project is a testament to our strategic goal of making the most of this incomparable asset.”

Planting is expected to begin sometime in the next week. Depending on the weather, the project should take about three weeks to complete.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

'Dig Night' at Emory's Carlos Museum Explores Active Archaeological Sites

Emory University and Carlos Museum faculty and curators will discuss their work in active archaeological sites in Greece, Israel and Egypt at a public program at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec 8, at the museum.

Bonna Wescoat, associate professor of art history; Oded Borowski, professor of Hebrew and biblical archaeology; and Peter Lacovara, curator of Egyptian art at the Carlos Museum, will discuss their work at Samothrace in Greece, Tell Halif in Israel, and Malkata, the boyhood home of Tutankhamen, in Egypt. The Carlos Museum will also introduce the new iSITE blogs that will allow the public to follow these digs each season.

Attendees will hear of the ancient Greek Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace from Wescoat. Home of one of the premier ancient Greek mystery cults, Samothrace offers a unique view of the ancient Greek world. Wescoat has worked at the site for more than 30 years, and Emory students have played an important role in exploring the sanctuary.

In 2008, Carlos Museum's Lacovara and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Diana Patch, associate curator of Egyptian art, began excavations at the site of Malqata, the palace-city of Amenhotep III (1390-1353 B.C.) and later a residence of the young king Tutankhamen.

Excavations at Tell Halif, under the direction of Borowski, continue to uncover remains from the end of the eighth century B.C., when the city - possibly biblical Rimmon - was destroyed by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 701 B.C. in response to the revolt of King Hezekiah of Judah. Among the remains discovered were substantial elements of the fortification system, a pillared house with a large assemblage of storage jars, and a kitchen that included an oven and grinding implements.

Location: 571 South Kilgo Circle, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, U.S.A.

Telephone: 404.727.4282 Fax: 404.727.4292

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday 12noon - 4 p.m. (Closed on Mondays and university holidays)

Admission:$8. Free for Carlos Museum members and Emory University faculty, students, and staff. Students, seniors, and children ages 6-17: $6 (Children ages 5 and under: Free).

Public Tours: Advanced booking required for weekday or weekend groups of ten or more. For reservations call 404-727-0519. Docent-led tours of the Museum depart from the Rotunda on Level One every Sunday at 2:30p.m. during the Emory academic year (call 404.727.4282 to confirm).

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

83 Percent of U.S. Adults Fail Test on Nation's Founding

/PRNewswire/ -- Who cares about the American Revolution? Should something that happened more than 200 years ago matter today?

These are among the questions raised by a recent national survey, sponsored by The American Revolution Center, which revealed an alarming lack of knowledge of our nation's founding history, despite near universal agreement on the importance of this knowledge.

The report, conducted in the summer of 2009 among a demographically representative random sample of U.S. adults, is the first national survey of adult knowledge of the American Revolution and its ongoing legacy. It reveals that Americans highly value, but vastly overrate, their knowledge of the Revolutionary period and its significance. Asked to grade themselves on their knowledge, 89 percent believed they could pass a basic test on the American Revolution. However, 83 percent failed when tested on the beliefs, freedoms, and liberties established during the Revolution.

"The American Revolution defined what it means to be an American. It forged those principles that unite us as a nation," says Dr. Bruce Cole, president and CEO of The American Revolution Center. "Unfortunately, those principles are fading from memory." This is alarming, Dr. Cole explains, because rights and values undefined and misunderstood cannot be defended or taught to future generations. "Knowledge of the ideas upon which our nation is built is essential, to maintain the relevance and vibrancy of our government," he says. "Many people are unaware that the everyday freedoms and liberties they enjoy - reading newspaper editorials, expressing a dissenting opinion while attending a public meeting, or worshipping at a religious institution of their choice - are the legacy of the American Revolution. For future generations to continue to enjoy these freedoms, we must know and preserve the promise of the American Revolution."

Some noteworthy findings from the report, titled "The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are Yearning to Learn, Failing to Know," include the following:

-- Many more Americans remember that Michael Jackson sang "Beat It" than
know that the Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution.
-- 60 percent of Americans can correctly identify the number of children
in reality-TV show couple Jon and Kate Gosselin's household (eight),
but more than one-third do not know the century in which the American
Revolution took place (18th). Half of those surveyed believe the
Civil War (1861-1865), Emancipation Proclamation (1863), or War of
1812 occurred before the American Revolution (1775-1783).
-- More than 50 percent of Americans surveyed wrongly attributed the
quote, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his
needs" to George Washington, Thomas Paine, or President Barack Obama,
when it is in fact a quote from Karl Marx, author of "The Communist

Fortunately, the survey revealed that more than 90 percent of Americans - across all major demographic groups - think it is important for U.S. citizens to know the history and principles of the American Revolution, and that this knowledge be taught in schools.

The findings are a call-to-action for The American Revolution Center and for its efforts to address this "historical amnesia." The non-partisan, not-for-profit organization plans to construct The Museum of the American Revolution in historic Philadelphia. This will be the first national museum to tell the entire story of the American Revolution and its enduring legacy. The organization already has launched a website with informational resources on the American Revolution, offering lesson plans and other educational materials.

For more information about the survey, or about the mission and activities of The American Revolution Center, visit

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