As part of the CSA Symposium, one day was spent at the Atlanta History Center. One of the main features there is the Atlanta History Museum, which tells, of course, the story of the city of Atlanta and the surrounding area.
We were given an historical overview by a curator at the museum, and he said something that I’d never thought about, but immediately realized the truth of. And that is that today Atlanta is strongly associated with the American Civil War purely because of Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone with the Wind, and the resulting blockbuster film. Not that the war was not an important part of the history of Atlanta, and not that Atlanta was not an important aspect of the war. This is undeniable, but it was the book and movie that drew attention to the city and cemented the association.
So it’s not surprising that a large part of the museum is devoted to artifacts from the Civil War. I just find it all so sad. Among all the guns and flags and uniforms, you have poignant little things like this pin, which a soldier carved from his own leg bone. It never was delivered to his sweetheart Lizzie, as he died before he could tell where to send it.
On a cheerier note, there is a nice section devoted to the game of golf, and to Atlanta favorite son, Bobby Jones. The golf ensemble at the top of this post is a replica of a suit worn by Alexa Stirling in the 1920s. Alexa was a friend of Bobby Jones, and was a golf prodigy in her own right. Below is a shot of her playing in a similar suit.
The Atlanta History Center has a very good collection of textiles, though during this visit there was not an exhibit dedicated to just clothing. Instead, clothing and textiles are sprinkled throughout the exhibits and are used for illustration of the other themes explored.
In a large exhibit on folk arts, they have an ingenious way to display quilts where 6 or 8 quilts are mounted on slanted boards that are recessed into the wall. You can push buttons, seen on the lower right of my photo, and the quilt you select to see will roll out for about 15 seconds, and then moves back into the darkness of the wall.
This is the Swan House, which is part of the history center complex. At one time it actually housed the museum, but today is open to tours as a museum house. The gardens are worth a walk though, and it is hard to believe that the city is just steps away!