Building on Our Heritage

Wendell Phillips (November 29, 1811 – February 2, 1884) was an American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americansorator, and attorney.

One of the first things I recall learning in school is the power and importance of words.  Remember the rhyme: “sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never harm me”? I have since learned that is not true.  I learned that words have a denotation and connotation. Denotation is the dictionary meaning; connotation is how the word makes you feel. I learned that the words around a specific word (the context of the message) can affect the meaning of the word.

When the members of Vision 2020 were approached to purchase the old RBS bank building in downtown Red Boiling Springs, it was with the intent by the seller and the buyer that it be restored to its former glory and used to house items and stories of the people and times that made Red Boiling Springs the community she has become.  A group of historic restoration experts were asked to help in the initial planning stages of this important project. The experts suggested calling the completed project a “history center”.  A few of the original V2020 members suggested calling it a “heritage museum”.

Much discussion was had about whether the home of the story of Red Boiling Springs should be called “history” or “heritage”.  The difference was pretty much in the hearts – the connotation of the words. History is a chronological record of significant events often including an explanation of their causes. Heritage is something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor.

Both are a collection of tales or stories. In connotation, history seems more a liturgy of “just the facts, ma’am” with a sprinkling of why.  Heritage is those stories, practices, dreams of previous generations handed down to the next generation as a foundation on which to build their future.

It is to the latter end, that V2020 and its members for the past decade have been working to purchase and now slowly restore the old bank structure to her glory days of the 1920s.  The Red Boiling Springs Heritage Museum will be the storehouse for the heritage on which she stands. Some of that heritage may have been unkind, selfish or even evil. There may be some cracks in the foundation but, it nonetheless should be preserved, honored, learned from and built upon.

Each year V2020 hosts an old-fashioned ice cream social and live auction to raise funds for the restoration work on the old bank building. Because of current health and community considerations, that gathering has been cancelled. To help with the loss of potential financial donations, V2020 is planning to host a few Facebook Live auctions in the next couple of months. Some items had already been collected for this year’s ice cream social auction and they will be included in the Facebook Live events.

You are encouraged to participate in the building restoration efforts by bidding on an item or two during one of the Facebook Live auctions. Check out the RBS Heritage Museum’s Facebook page — for those items up for bid at the first live auction Thursday, July 30th beginning at 6:45pm – live from the Step Back in Time Shop.

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