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Atlanta History Center

130 West Paces Ferry Rd N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia

Phone: 404-814-4000 --

Statement of Purpose:

From cotton fields to railroads, the Civil War to civil rights, you'll find the real story of Atlanta's past at the Atlanta History Center.

Highlights & Collections:

Tour the city's most exciting museum; the 83,000-square-foot Atlanta History Museum.

 Atlanta History center stamp

You'll learn how Atlanta grew into the South's leading city, about African-American history, the Civil War, southern folk arts, "Gone With the Wind", and relive Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic glory with the new Centennial Olympic Games Museum opening July 2006, and a whole lot more.

The story continues at two houses on the National Register of Historic Places: Swan House, an elegant 1928 mansion, and newly restored Tullie Smith Farm, with its 1840s plantation-plain house, outbuildings, and farm animals.

Atlanta History Center Swan House
Swan House

Atlanta History Center Tullie Smith Farm
Tullie Smith Farm

Visitors also enjoy 33 acres of beautiful gardens and nature wooded trails.

Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center contains research library/archives with manuscript and photo collections totaling 3.5 million items (specialties include the Civil War, genealogy, decorative arts and black history; horticulture and landscape history are covered in the Cherokee Garden Library, also located in McElreath Hall). Kenan Research Center is open Tuesday –Saturday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and is FREE to the public. Please visit for more information.  

The Center offers a Museum Shop, Chik-fil-A at the Coca-Cola Cafe, Swan Coach House restaurant and a picnic area.

Exhibits & Special Events:

·         Metropolitan Frontiers: Atlanta, 1835-2000

·         Permanent

Indian settlements, cotton fields, railroads, the Civil War, gGone With the Wind," the Civil Rights Movement, CNN, the 1996 Olympic Games - Atlanta's story is a fascinating one. That story is told in this ground-breaking exhibition with rare objects, hundreds of historic photographs, antique clothing, original documents, video presentations and special areas for hands-on exploration. Highlights include a bowl carved in a soapstone boulder, c. 1000 B.C.; an entire 1894 shotgun house moved frorn southwest Atlanta; an 1898 horsedrawn fire engine with a stearn-driven pump used by the Atlanta fire department in the city's tragic 1917 fire; a 1920 Hanson car built in Atlanta and one of only two in existence; a scale model of the Tom Moreland Interchange at the intersection of I-285 and I-85, known as iSpaghetti Junction"; and more. The exhibition also points visitors to historic sites in the city (including some at the Center itself) for further exploration. The exhibition was awarded a 1993 ACOG Cultural Olympiad Regional Designation Award in the Arts and is funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Georgia Humanities Council through the Georgia Folklife Prograrn.

Atlanta History Center Turning Point: The American Civil War (DuBose Gallery)

·         Turning Point: The American Civil War (DuBose Gallery)

·         Permanent

The Civil War changed America as no other event in its history. It completed the formation of the United States, defined tne basic role of the Federal government and set the young nation on a patn toward social and political equality. Tnis award-winning, permanent exhibition explores this bturning point" in American history. The visitor views the war through the eyes of the soldiers who fought and endured many hardships, as well as through the eyes of civilians back home. It also exarnines the political and social motives of the Union and the Confederacy, and how they changed during the course of the war. The final section focuses on how the country, in an effort to heal, searched for meaning in a war during which nearly 700,000 people were killed -two percent of the total population of the country and more than the total number of Americans killed in all other wars combined, up to the Vietnam War. "Turning Point" features more than 1,200 objects, primarily from the renowned DuBose Civil War Collection, and also from the Thomas Swift Dickey Civil War Ordnance Collection and other holdings. The displays include the Confederate States flag that flew over Atlanta at the time of its capture, a Federal supply wagon used by Sherman's army, uniforms, weapons, artillery gun tubes, soldiers' personal items, letters, diaries, medical equipment, a civilian overcoat and hat, veterans' memorabilia and more. The DuBose Gallery is made possible by a gift from Mrs. Beverly M. DuBose Jr. The exhibition is also sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. W. Barrett Howell and Wachovia Bank of Georgia The installation of "Turning Point" was supported by Balentine & Company.

·         Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South (Goizueta Folklife Gallery)

·         Permanent

Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South" traces the unique and evolving attributes of southern folk culture through antique and contemporary objects as well as oral and musical traditions. The exhibition shows how people have relied on tradition to meet their needs and how utility can combine with inspiration to create art out of everyday life. Developed from the Atlanta History Center's John A. Burrison Folklife Collection, the exhibition features 500 examples of handcrafted pottery, woodwork, basketry, weaving, quilting and metalwork, and explores the lives of several master folk artists. A few of the highlighted artists are potter Lanier Meaders, the Hewell family of potters, chair maker Walter Shelnut, Cherokee basket maker Lucille Lossiah, the Reeves family of basket makers, story quilter Harriet Powers and blacksmith Philip Simmons. This exhibition examines the meaning of art and artistry in everyday life, as distinct from the fine arts contexts that most people associate with the term. Two audio theaters present a variety of songs, preaching styles and narratives that relate to particular southern environments, including, Okefenokee Swamp tall tales, a Creek Indian stomp-dance chant and blues by ZBlind" Willie McTell and Gertrude ZMa" Rainey. The Goizueta Folklife Gallery is made possible by a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Roberto C. Goizueta in memory of their son, Carlos Alberto Goizueta This exhibition is sponsored in part by grants from the Ford Motor Company, the Woodward Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

 Centennial Olympic Games Museum at the Atlanta History Center

·         Centennial Olympic Games Museum at the Atlanta History Center

·         Permanent

The 1996 Centennial Olympic Games changed Atlanta forever. In a spectacular collection of multimedia presentations, artifacts, images and interactive displays, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum at the Atlanta History Center houses one of the most significant exhibitions on Olympic sport and history ever to be presented in the United States. Displays of original memorabilia, including posters, medals and the only complete collection of Olympic torches in the country, which date back to the 1936 Berlin Games, tell the story of the modern Olympics since 1896. A collection of 6,000 treasured artifacts including athletes’ uniforms, costumes and props from the Olympic Games ceremonies, venue drawings, commemorative game pins and medals capture the excitement of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. A special area focuses on the 16 days of competition in Atlanta where visitors learn about the Olympic Village, the sports venues, Opening and Closing ceremonies, the Cultural Olympiad, Centennial Olympic Park, souvenir madness, visiting dignitaries, the tragic day of terrorism, and so much more. And an accompanying video salutes the more than 47,000 volunteers that made the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games possible. In the middle of the exhibit, a soaring space two-stories high is surrounded by five large columns modeled after the light towers at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. Between the columns, a series of flat screens plays The Centennial Olympic Games Experience, a stirring multimedia presentation that captures the spirit and emotion of the Atlanta Games.


The interactive Sports Lab on the second level invites children and adults to test their strength and skill against those of the world’s greatest athletes. An assisted long jump allows visitors to safely jump off from a starting line to a “sand track” over eight meters away and side-by-side sculls provide the experience of racing against an Olympic record while mastering the rhythm of rowing. In the cycling recreation, visitors mount a stationary bike and get a feel for the skill and stamina required to cycle a mountain bike up a steep hill. After exploring the exhibition, visitors can test their Olympic knowledge in an interactive game, before standing on the victory platform with graphic backdrops, gold, silver and bronze medals, presentation trays, and victor’s bouquets as their name appears on a scoreboard.



·         Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.;

·         Sunday, noon-5:30 p.m.

·         (ticket sales stop at 4:30 p.m. daily, 3 hours minimum are recommended to tour the entire Center).

·         The Center is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christrnas Day and New Year's Day; and open noon-5:30 p.m. Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Library/archives closes daily at 5 p.m.; closed Sunday. The library/archives is closed Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Admission & Directions:

General admission is all-inclusive and includes all permanent and traveling exhibitions, historic houses, gardens and trails, Kenan Research Center. $15 for adults, $12 for students 13+ and senior citizens 65+, $12 for youths 4-12 and free for children 3 and under. Atlanta History Center members are admitted for FREE.

Group Rates Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more adults or 10 or more children. Group reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance to receive the group rate and ensure the availability of desired activities. To schedule or for more information, call the Group Tour Sales Manager at (404) 814-4062. To schedule or for more information about school groups, call the school programs scheduler at (404) 814-4062.

Directions By MARTA: From the Buckhead Financial Center or Lenox rail station, take Bus #23 south to the intersection of Peachtree and West Paces Ferry Roads; walk west on West Paces Ferry Road past the second traffic light (Slaton Drive) to the pedestrian entrance.

Driving: Going north on I-75 from downtown, take the West Paces Ferry Road exit and turn left at end of the ramp onto Northside Parkway. Turn right at the next intersection onto West Paces Ferry Road. Going south on I-75 from Marietta, take the West Paces Ferry Road exit and turn left at the end of the ramp onto West Paces Ferry Road. Once on West Paces Ferrv Road, continue east for 2.6 miles, pass the Center and turn right onto Slaton Drive. The Center entrance is on the right.

Accessibility The Atlanta History Museum and McElreath Hall are accessible to people with disabilities. Paved and unpaved pathways pass through the Center's gardens and lead to Swan House and Tullie Smith Farm. Large-print reading materials are available for some exhibitions in the Atlanta History Museum. All video presentations at the Atlanta History Center are subtitled. Visitor maps are available in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.

Key Personnel:

Leigh Massey, Manager of Marketing Communications

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