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Coming Home: Adam Ware to Direct Bandy Heritage Center

Dr. Adam Ware, a sixth generation native of Northwest Georgia with roots stretching back to 1840, is returning to his hometown from Orlando, Fla. to lead Dalton State’s Bandy Heritage Center of Northwest Georgia as its new director.

Ware, a 2000 graduate of Dalton High School, currently serves as historian and research librarian for The Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando. He holds a doctorate in American Religious History from Florida State University where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on Dreaming of a Hillbilly Heaven: Religion, Emotion, and American Country Music, 1925-1954. He earned a master of arts in religion and a bachelor of science in psychology, both from The University of Georgia.

As director of the Bandy Heritage Center, Ware will oversee the College’s public history program which celebrates the rich history and culture of Northwest Georgia. The Bandy Center was established in 2008 through the generosity of Dalton businessman and carpet pioneer Jack Bandy. Activities of the Bandy Center focus on public outreach programming as well as heritage tourism; future plans include curation of an archival collection and exhibits concentrating on the Northwest Georgia area as well as research and publishing activities which promote a more complete understanding of the region's heritage.

“We are very fortunate to have identified such a highly qualified person to fill the role of the Director of the Bandy Heritage Center,” said Dalton State President Dr. Margaret Venable. “In addition to his strong academic record and experience in public history, Adam also brings his own personal history to the position as he returns to his hometown of Dalton.”

“I look forward to building on the Bandy Heritage Center’s early successes, and to forming new relationships with community partners across campus and across the region,” Ware said. “By preserving Northwest Georgia’s past, the Bandy Center stands to make exciting contributions to its bright future. I can’t wait to return home and get started.”

Ware will join the Dalton State community May 1 and looks forward to stepping in and taking stock.

“It will be important to determine what the material strengths of the collection are, where the gaps and growth opportunities are,” he said. “That will shape my priorities and determine the Center’s capabilities – what we can exhibit, and the topics we can feature in public programming. Within Northwest Georgia’s three C’s –Cherokees, Civil War, and carpet—there are so many stories that enrich, challenge, and surprise, and I will work to ensure the Bandy Center encompasses them all.

“My long-term goal is to make the Bandy Center into a go-to authority for the care, preservation, and exhibition/interpretation of the region’s material and cultural history, serving everyone from scholars to school groups,” he said.

He has big plans for the Bandy Center’s growth and development.

“Through oral history initiatives, preservation workshops, social media outreach, and new exhibits, I will work to implement standards and practices that will enable us to pursue accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums,” he said.

As historian and research librarian for the Orange County Regional History Center, Ware has driven collections growth in previously underrepresented areas and facilitated public and research access to the Center’s collections, as well as assisted in the curation of exhibits. He also contributed to the OneOrlando Collection initiative, which collects artifacts and oral histories following the Pulse Nightclub massacre and which earned the Leadership in History and History in Progress awards from the American Association for State and Local History. Before joining the History Center in 2014, he taught in the departments of religion at Florida State University and the University of Georgia. 

Of the new director, Dr. Pat Chute, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Dalton State said, "Dr. Ware brings with him not only a rich history of academic and museum experience but as a former resident of Dalton, his passion for his field coupled with his knowledge of the local community, promises to make his role as the new Director of the Bandy Center an exciting and engaging one. We look forward to his arrival.”

Ware will be joined in Dalton this summer by his fiancé, Emilie Arnold.