History, Culture & the Outdoors

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Virginia (11-20)
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The Atlanta History Center
This is the Smith Family house. It includes the home and additional buildings representing an 18th century Georgia farm. 7.83 Georgia ratingStar
The Atlanta History Center guyonthego

The Atlanta History Center facility includes a history museum, three historic houses, two restaurants, a gift shop, library, gardens and walking trails. The center is mainly located on a beautiful 33 acre campus which had previously been a private residence called the Swan House. The Margaret Mitchell House is in another part of the city.

The center was founded in 1926 as a historical association by Atlantans to preserve the city's history. Various member collections grew over time, and a centralized location to house everything became desirable. The center moved to its current location in 1966 and built the main museum in 1993. There are six permanent exhibitions and several rotating ones at the museum. A fast food restaurant is patterned after a 1950s soda shop.

The center advises 4 hours for a visit, but plan to spend at least a day if you want to see everything and maybe get some lunch. The visit started at the historic farmhouse. A staff person provided basic commentary on the rooms and furniture; however the farm was nothing special. The larger Swan House is more contemporary, refined, and distinctive. It’s covered in another review. As for the museum exhibitions, the extensive Civil War gallery was most impressive. There are over 1,400 period artifacts, and the gallery provided meaningful insight into the conflict. A section on the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games also is worth checking out with various multimedia displays. The gallery on Atlanta’s history was more broad than deep, but did not take much time and had a wide variety of displays. The other galleries were less notable. Perhaps the Bobby Jones exhibit is worth a visit for golfers. The gardens and trails at the center were pleasant for a short stroll, but there were few flowers in fall. While history buffs will most appreciate a visit here, the center has enough diversity of attractions, exhibit insights, food options, and museum gifts to have at least moderate appeal for a general audience.

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January 2021
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