On Monday, the Funk Heritage Center opened a brand-new exhibit about the life of the museum’s namesake –James Forrest Funk, M.D. Students in the Museum Exhibits/Museum Studies class, taught by Jeff Bishop, director of the Funk Heritage Center, curated the exhibit.
“One thing we discovered that really needed changing was when it came to Dr. Funk himself,” said Bishop. “Whenever people would come and ask about Dr. Funk, the only thing we had to show them was a photocopy of his obituary mounted near the door of the museum. That was it.”
With the help of Helen Funk McSwain, one of Dr. Funk’s daughters, students Kip Ryle '22, Nicholas Prine '22, Mason Johnson '22, Branden Blackwell '22, and Sydney Murray '23 created the new exhibit complete with photos, information about Dr. Funk, and an interactive component.
McSwain and her sisters, Allie Garnier Funk, and Florrie Funk were able to attend the ribbon cutting for the exhibit honoring their father. “He really loved this school,” McSwain said speaking about her father. “He took it upon himself to get involved. He mostly wanted to do it (build the museum) for the college students to learn about their community. I think he’d be very proud of all the work you all have done here. He set out to educate people, and I see that has been accomplished very well.”
“This has been a really great opportunity,” said Ryle, speaking on behalf of the students. “I’m so excited to share the story of a really important person who helped make this museum happen. I cannot thank everybody enough for letting us be involved.”
In addition to opening the new exhibit, the Funk Heritage Center debuted their new audio tour in the Sellars Tool Gallery. “We’ve never had an audio tour here,” said Bishop. “Again, this was a project of the students. They came up with the idea, did the research, wrote the scripts, and recorded the audio. They did a great job. I’m very proud.”
The new audio tour features seven QR codes throughout the Sellars Tool Gallery which visitors can scan with their phones. Visitors will hear Jack O’Trades, a character created by the students, talk about building a life in the mountains of Georgia using some of the tools in the room.
For hours of operation and admission costs, visit www.reinhardt.edu/funkheritage.