The Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College was declared Georgia ́s official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center and the Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum was declared an official State of Georgia center for character education when Governor George E. "Sonny" Perdue signed Senate Bill No. 33 on June 2, 2003.
The F. James and Florrie G. Funk Heritage Center and the John H. Sr. and Ethel C. Bennett History Museum at Reinhardt College in Waleska opened their doors to visitors in 1999. In the past ten years, more than 110,000 adults and children have visited and enjoyed the many outstanding programs and tours at this unique museum.
The Bennett History Museum has a large collection of artifacts representing the American Indian cultures that preceded the European arrival in the Southeast.
The museum’s giant Estelle Bennett Hughes Theater shows an award-winning film, "The Southeastern Indians", which gives visitors some background into the history of these native people. The Hall of the Ancients offers more detailed historical information about the Indians and settlers.
Warluskee’s Corner - Located in the Hall of the Ancients, this area is a comfortable and child friendly place for parents to stop, sit in the rocker and talk to young children about the history of Georgia’s first people.
The Rogers Gallery of Contemporary Indian Art includes paintings, sculptures and other creative works. Rotating exhibits from this collection are always on display.
Another permanent exhibit is "Tools of the Trades", the Sellars Collection of Antique Hand Tools.
Located on the grounds of the Funk Heritage Center is another major attraction, the Appalachian Settlement. Designed to interpret the pioneer experience, the Settlement includes authentic log cabins and other 19th century farm buildings that have been moved from their original locations in the exhibit area, then faithfully reconstructed and furnished. The structures in the village include a settler’s cabin, woodwright’s cabin, blacksmith shop, syrup mill, grain crib, ’tater house, and threshing floor, as well as a truss bridge and a kingpost bridge.
Senate Bill 33
By: Senators Thomas of the 2nd, Hill of the 4th and Johnson of the 1st
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
To amend Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to other state symbols, so as to designate The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum as an official State of Georgia center for character education; to designate the Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College as Georgia ́s official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum is a living memorial created to honor the more than one million personnel who have served in the United States Eighth Air Force since it was organized in Savannah, Georgia, in 1942; and
WHEREAS, the Eighth Air Force was established during the early days of World War II to provide the strategic air force essential to save Europe; and
WHEREAS, the original Eighth Air Force included 65 Heavy Bombardment Groups, 20 Fighter Groups, 3 Air Divisions, 4 major headquarters, and a support command with supply, maintenance, and repair depots throughout the United Kingdom; and
WHEREAS, The Mighty Eighth Air Force was the largest, most publicized of all of the air forces and was engaged in the most vicious air combat for the longest sustained period of time out of all the other major air components in this country; and
WHEREAS, The Mighty Eighth won the air war over Europe and made the successful invasion of Europe possible, and it had no peer in any category of combat activity and suffered the greatest losses of brave young men who were never turned back by enemy action; and
WHEREAS, some 350,000 men and women served in the Eighth Air Force during World War II and contributed to the greatest and most spectacular air campaigns in aviation history; and
WHEREAS, The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum emphasizes the teaching of character education through the numerous examples of courage, spirit, and sacrifice shown by the members of the Eighth Air Force; and
WHEREAS, the museum is a resource partner of the Georgia Center for Character Education and character education programming at the museum serves as a pilot program for other museums throughout this state; and
WHEREAS, the Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia, is a museum and pioneer village interpreting the history and culture of the southeastern Native Americans, the first inhabitants of our colony and state who contributed immeasurably to the cultural, economic, and social development of Georgia; and
WHEREAS, the center interprets and exhibits paintings, sculpture, and other creative works of contemporary southeastern Indian art and includes a permanent collection of antique hand tools used in trades from rope making and shipbuilding to bookbinding; and
WHEREAS, the center offers educational programs, performances, and demonstrations that encourage the study of Native American history and culture and enhance public awareness and understanding of the valuable contributions of our native people; and
WHEREAS, the Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College is truly an outstanding asset to the people of Georgia and the visiting public, and its mission should be properly recognized.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to other state symbols, is amended by adding at the end thereof new Code Sections 50-3-79 and 50-3-80 to read as follows:
"50-3-79. The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum is designated as an official State of Georgia center for character education.
50-3-80. The Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia, is designated as Georgia ́s official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center."
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.
The following information was excerpted from the Georgia Code, Title 50, Chapter 3, Article 3, Section 50-3-80.
TITLE 50. STATE GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 3. STATE FLAG, SEAL, AND OTHER SYMBOLS
ARTICLE 3. OTHER STATE SYMBOLS
O.C.G.A. § 50-3-80 (2012)
§ 50-3-80. Official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center
The Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia, is designated as Georgia's official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 50-3-80, enacted by Ga. L. 2003, p. 501, § 1; Ga. L. 2004, p. 156, § 1.
Thomas, Regina D., Jack Hill, and Eric Johnson. "Designate; The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum; center for character education programming." Georgia General Assembly. State of Georgia, 02 Jun 2003. Web. 16 Apr 2013.
"Georgia Code." LexisNexis Custom Solution: Georgia Code Research Tool. LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier, Inc. Web. 16 Apr 2013.