The Atlanta History Center uses daily household artifacts to tell the stories of the people who lived here. A double-sided display case shows a Civil War soldier’s virtues (pocket-sized scriptures and hymnals) and vices (tin poker chips, whiskey bottles, and dice). Walk through a reassembled log cabin or shotgun house, where creaky wooden floors transport you to the nineteenth century. Sit in a country chapel and cool off with a paper fan while you listen to shape-note singers or an African American sermon. And there are poignant reminders of a darker past; near a Ku Klux Klan robe is a grainy, black-and-white photograph of an anonymous lynching—covered discreetly by a flap of black felt.
Also on the grounds are two remarkable house museums: the mid-nineteenth-century Tullie Smith Farm, which showcases Georgia’s rural past, and the classically styled Swan House, architect Philip Trammell Shutze’s masterpiece. During your visit, be sure to dine on the iconic frozen fruit salad at the Swan Coach House. atlantahistorycenter.com