With public symbols of the Confederacy becoming an increasingly hot-button issue in recent weeks, one Georgia Civil War institution is drawing a line in the sand — right at the doorway to its museum.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, after receiving an order from a local commissioner to not display any Confederate flags inside the museum, the Nash Farm Battlefield Museum in Hampton, Georgia, has decided to close its doors rather than comply with the request.
“The main reason is that the current District 2 Commissioner, Dee Clemmons, has requested that ALL Confederate flags be removed from the museum, in addition to the gift shop, in an effort not to offend anyone,” said museum officials.
With a Facebook post, the Nash Farm Battlefield explains the decision to shutter the museum come June 1:
“For anyone who studies the American Civil War, or War Between the States, they realize there were two parties that fought in this war. We have always prided ourselves with being an unbiased museum that told the entire story of the battles that took place on this property, as well as being a voice of the people in Henry County and Georgia during this time. These stories were told mainly through primary sources, sometimes secondary, but never tertiary sources. To exclude any Confederate flag would mean the historical value has been taken from our exhibits, and a fair interpretation could not be presented to each guest.”
“Confederate flags were on this hallowed ground, as were the Union flags,” they added. “To remove either of them would be a dishonor.”
The group explains that it followed earlier requests from the commissioner, but when it came to an attempt to interfere with what was displayed inside the museum, it could not comply:
“The Board of the Friends of Nash Farm Battlefield, Inc. complied when Commissioner Clemmons requested, soon after her taking office, that the entrenchments be removed from the property. When she had the Second National Confederate Flag removed from the flag pole where it has been flying since Henry County purchased the property, again we complied and did not create a disturbance in hopes that the museum would be left alone. The final order from Commissioner Clemmons is one that we cannot and will not comply with.”
Recently, the city of New Orleans removed both Confederate and white supremacist monuments from public display. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu defended that decision as an effort to correct history, due to a perceived notion of the monuments elevating figures beyond their correct historical roles.
“These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history,” Landrieu said. “These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.”
Taking down public statues may correct history, but for one museum in Georgia, banishing historical artifacts from museums is a step too far.