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Popes Museum

Popes Museum

Laura Pope Forester (1873-1953), the woman who shaped the Popes Museum, is a nationally significant American self-taught artist . She is notable not only for creating a large folk art environment of high artistic quality around her rural residence and store, but also as one of the few female artists to do so the twentieth century. This distinction, coupled with the fact that the former Pope Museum is among the oldest such environments in the country, makes the site a notable destination. At the time of Forester’s death in 1953, the property, by then commonly known as the “Mrs. Pope’s Museum” or “ the Pope Museum,” consisted of over two hundred concrete statues, busts, and bas-reliefs primarily depicting historical and fictional figures, the majority of them being women. Cleopatra and James Fenimore Cooper’s Uncus counted among them, the latter decorated with a necklace made of rattlesnake vertebrae and, for his hair, steel blades repurposed from a discarded farm implement. While most of her statues have been destroyed or carried away before current owners purchased the property, Forester created her most impressive composition, a fifteen-foot high, one hundred-foot long entry gate, in the 1940s. She decorated the gate with intricate lacework fashioned from cast iron sewing machine legs, as well as a multitude of large busts including those of Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur, British and American nurses of the Second World War, and Georgia educator Martha Berry

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