February 27, 2013 | Comments Off
This fall, Savannah’s First African Baptist Church contacted SCAD’s historic preservation department for suggestions on preserving their building. During an initial visit, Professor Jim Abraham saw great potential for collaboration, from historic research and paint analysis to conditions assessment and preservation planning. He also took note of the church’s 1830s tracker organ, which the church knows little about and is in need of significant repair. After sharing the possibilities with other faculty, Professor Gunther engaged some of his students in Material Culture to research the organ, and Jordan Hodges and Whitney Crawford have made some surprising discoveries. The instrument, created by renowned maker Henry Erben, is Savannah’s oldest church organ. First used by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, the organ was donated to First African Baptist Church in 1888 and has remained there ever since. SCAD’s research is a first step in helping the church understand their organ’s history and potentially help them raise funds for its restoration.