June 8th – September 8th, 2019
The words “Miss America” have traditionally conjured images of beauty, style, and grace. For 75 years, Columbus has been part of that legacy as the host of the Miss Georgia Pageant. This exhibition honors the event’s local history, beginning in 1944 when the Columbus Jaycees, a community service organization, agreed to be the new organizers of the state pageant. From a one-night outdoor event in Memorial Stadium to its longtime home at the Three Arts Theatre and now at the renowned RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, the Miss Georgia Pageant has made its mark in the city of Columbus. Beyond the women throughout the state who have traveled to the Chattahoochee Valley to compete, this exhibition spotlights the longtime volunteers, sponsors, and supporters who have made the Miss Georgia Pageant come to life year after year. Three former Miss Georgias will also receive special attention: Miss America winners Neva Jane Langley (Fickling) in 1953 and Betty Cantrell (Maxwell) in 2016, as well as Columbus native and Miss America 1st runner-up Chasity Hardman (Smith) in 2009. In addition to the glitz and glamour of the onstage pageant, the exhibition will also examine the women’s platform issues and the working advocacy efforts Miss America and Miss Georgia contestants engage in.