Your guide to the Atlanta History Center: Current and permanent exhibitions
Nestled in Buckhead on West Paces Ferry Road, the Atlanta History Center is a beacon of Atlanta’s past, present and future. Founded in 1926 to study and preserve Atlanta’s history, this center has evolved from a small historical society to a full-fledged 33-acre behemoth of exhibition space, historic houses, gardens, research centers and more. Learn more about some of Atlanta History Center’s current exhibitions, as well as permanent attractions, below.
Any Great Change: The Centennial of the 19th Amendment
Primarily centered around the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which granted women the right to vote), this exhibition showcases how women in Georgia played important roles in local and national politics.
Atlanta ‘96: Shaping an Olympic and Paralympic City
This exhibition focuses on Atlanta hosting the centennial Olympic and Paralympic games in 1996, which significantly changed the fabric of the city through significant growth initiatives and put Atlanta on the world map.
Atlanta History Center houses a fully restored, hand-painted “cyclorama” 360-degree painting centered around the Battle of Atlanta. This work of art is longer than a football field and over 10,000 pounds, and would have been the equivalent of an immersive IMAX experience 132 years ago when it was painted. Bonus points if you find the soldier that was intended to look like Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind.
Fair Play: The Bobby Jones Story
Golf fans will enjoy this exhibition centered around Grand Slam golf champion Bobby Jones, whose illustrious 14-year international golf career launched six decades before Tiger Woods was born and inspired the sport to this day.
Gatheround: Stories of Atlanta
The diversity of Atlanta can be no better showcased than through this exhibition that shares multiple perspectives, anecdotes and stories around politics and policy, urban growth, family and community, cultural life and more throughout the city’s past and present, paving a path towards a bright future for the city.
These luscious 33 acres located on the premises of the Atlanta History Center feature nine distinct gardens: Olguita’s Garden, Quarry Garden, Smith Farm Gardens, Swan House Gardens, Rhododendron Garden, Asian Garden, Swan Woods, Veterans Park and Entrance Gardens.
Locomotion: Railroads and the Making of Atlanta
This exhibition traces Atlanta’s history back to its origins when it was called Terminus, serving as the actual terminus stop for the Western & Atlantic Railroad. In particular, the exhibit focuses on the restored locomotive engine called “Texas,” which was used in the 1850s during this time, as well as the Zero Mile Post, which marked the center of the city and was recently relocated to the Atlanta History Center.
Mandarin Schutze: A Chinese Export Life
This exhibition focuses on the decorative arts of Swan House architect Philip Trammell Schutze, such as paintings, textiles, antique furniture, and ceramics including Chinese and English porcelain and pottery.
Before settlers and colonizers took over what makes up the United States today, the lands were inhabited by native peoples who had built up rich and complex societies. Learn more about the Muscogee and Cherokee peoples, who lived in what is now present-day Georgia and who built a legacy around music, art, agriculture, trade and more prior to being forcibly removed in the 1830s on the infamous Trail of Tears.
Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South
This exhibition highlights a variety of folk art processes, including pottery makers, chair makers, basket makers, quilters, blacksmiths and more. Learn more about how folk art has evolved and changed over the decades and has contributed to many Southern traditions.
This iconic mansion, best known for being featured in The Hunger Games, was built in 1928 and is located on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, this Italian and English classical-inspired mansion sits on the grounds of the Atlanta History Center and takes visitors back to the Gatsby era. Take a trip back in time and learn more about the mansion’s complicated history.
Turning Point: The American Civil War
It’s no secret that Atlanta played a pivotal role in the American Civil War, the legacy of which follows the city to this day. This particular exhibition focuses on the perspectives of soldiers and civilians, showcasing stories from both the Union and Confederacy.
Atlanta History Center
Location: Buckhead - 130 W Paces Ferry Rd NW; Website: atlantahistorycenter.com; Admission: $24 for adults and $10 for kids ages 4-12; Hours of operation: Tuesday–Sunday from 9 a.m. –4 p.m., historic houses open at 11 a.m.; Parking: Free on-site parking; Contact: 404-814-4000