On one of those sleepiness nights, I found myself watching History Channel 2 (H2), the little brother to my favorite channel, which I probably do not need to name. This station is where they test new shows and air less popular programming. Brad Meltzer has a relatively new show titled Lost History. Here he searches for lost, stolen, or missing artifacts that are known to exist but have vanished from public record or view. He refers to a top ten list, which includes items such as the original Apollo 11 moon landing tapes, Hitler’s photo albums, and even the Whitehouse cornerstone. I know of two items from his top ten list that have been recovered since the airing of the shows: Hitler’s photo albums and the Ground Zero flag. Meltzer featured the background and story line of the missing artifacts and announced publically that they are in search of that piece of lost history.
So I was thinking: maybe the Museum could create its own list of missing artifacts that we would love to track down and possibly acquire for our permanent collection. We will probably need some help from our readers to establish this list. There may be many missing things out there that you know are important that we here at the Museum do not even know about. This list will probably grow to a larger number than ten, but at least we will collectively identify items that we are in search of for the Museum’s collection and for community enjoyment.
Number one on the list are the missing photo albums that once belonged to the archives of The Buford Advertiser and were donated to the Museum by Billy Cain in 1997. We have in our possession two large format scrapbooks, filled with photos of events and celebrations once written about in our local paper; but we feel that this is only a portion of what originally existed. Unfortunately, before my time with the Museum and in between curators, the collection was exhibited as an unmanned, self-serve exhibit where anyone could handle the artifacts. We are afraid that during this time, some of the albums went missing. Needless to say, we would love to have them back, and no questions will be asked of the one bringing them to the Museum or City Hall. These albums are extremely important to us as a city, and we would welcome them back under any circumstances, damaged or perfect.
The second item that I want to add to the list is the photo albums of Weldon Gardner’s public life in Buford. He was an extremely important diplomat in Buford, and he kept photo albums of the special Buford events with which he was associated during the 1950’s and 1960’s. We believe one or possibly two of these albums have been sold at a yard sale by a descendant, not realizing their significance to the city in documenting our history. These photo albums should be easy to identify because they have custom, hand-carved leather bindings and are rather large. If you know who acquired either of these scrapbooks, please help us reconnect with this lost piece of our history.
Our Top Ten list may be just the tip of the iceberg of what’s missing once we collectively start compiling. We will create a documentation list of every relic missing that we feel has community significance and the circumstances surrounding its last known whereabouts. Then, when we uncover one of our missing pieces, we will celebrate with a follow-up article and share any additional information if possible. We realize too, that sometimes we will need to be discrete when handling certain circumstances. Please help the Museum in finding our lost history.