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The Columbus Museum Opens 'Sands Unshaken: The Original Story of Alma Thomas'

An exclusive, historical exhibition has just opened at The Columbus Museum. Sand Unshaken presents rare family artifacts to tell the story of Alma Thomas, one of the Chattahoochee Valley’s most famous and beloved artists.

The exhibit is meant to serve as an opening act for Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, a collection of works that is set to come home to Columbus in July after stops in Norfolk, Washington, D.C. and Nashville. The touring exhibit has received national acclaim and has served to better place the life and work of Alma Thomas on the radar of art enthusiasts across the Southeast.

Though many know of Alma Thomas' work, few are aware of her complicated and surprising tie to Columbus. Thomas and her family experienced life in the Deep South in the decades following the Civil War.

“Sand Unshaken reveals a far more complex story about Alma Thomas and her family than is usually told,” said Rebecca Bush, Curator of History and Exhibitions Manager at The Columbus Museum. “Thomas experienced the racial discrimination that affected all African Americans in the Deep South during Jim Crow, but her family’s unique social position and determination to build a Black middle class offered her more opportunities than most of her peers. This exhibition provides insight into how Thomas’s childhood and family legacy in Columbus shaped her lifelong creativity.”

Sand Unshaken features a collection of historical artifacts such as family portraits, books, musical instruments used by family members, furnishings from the Thomas home in the upper-middle-class Rose Hill community, and a locket purchased by Thomas’s grandfather for her grandmother while both were enslaved.

After visiting the Sand Unshaken exhibition, visitors can take a driving tour that includes 25 notable landmarks related to Alma Thomas and her family. The tour was developed by the Columbus Museum as an extension of the exhibition. Tour stops include the family home in Rose Hill, Lincoln Park, the historic site of St. John AME Church, Sixth Avenue School, John Thomas’s saloon, the passenger train depot and more. A map detailing the full tour, including an eight-stop one-mile walking tour, can be found on the exhibition website.

It's helpful to know Sands Unshaken: The Original Story of Alma Thomas was designed with the intention of being a precursor to Alma Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, opening July 1. Make plans to spend time exploring Sands Unshaken before the larger exhibition opens to ensure you're prepared to appreciate Everything Is Beautiful to the fullest extent. ◾️

If You Go:

Sands Unshaken: The Original Alma Thomas Story

The Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Rd.

May 21 - October 2

Free Admission

Alma Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful

The Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Rd.

July 1 - September 25

Free Admission


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