In 1926, fourteen civic-minded Atlantans chartered the Atlanta Historical Society to help preserve the city’s history. These founding members met at each other’s homes, collected early manuscripts and photographs, and published research bulletins – all “to arouse in the citizens and friends of Atlanta an interest in its history.”
Over the past 88 years, the organization has grown substantially in both scope and size, and in 1990, the Atlanta Historical Society and all of its holdings officially became the Atlanta History Center. Now located on 33 acres in historic Buckhead, the Atlanta History Center strives to connect people, history, and culture through one of the country’s premier History Centers.
The Atlanta History Center is a unique campus that houses the Atlanta History Museum, Centennial Olympic Games Museum, Swan House, Smith Family Farm, six historic gardens, and the Kenan Research Center. The Atlanta History Center also includes the Margaret Mitchell House, located off-site at our Midtown campus.
Throughout the year, we bring history to life through living history programs, lectures with award-winning authors, toddler programs, homeschool days, school tours, summer camps, music series, annual festivals such as Sheep to Shawl, and much more.
The Atlanta History Museum at the Atlanta History Center is one of the largest history museums in the nation, featuring award-winning signature exhibitions that tell the story of the region's people, from its earliest settlers to the international city of today.
The Centennial Olympic Games Museum at the Atlanta History Center opened in 2006 in celebration of the ten year anniversary of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. With its spectacular collection of multimedia presentations, artifacts, images, and interactive displays, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum houses one of the most significant exhibitions on Olympic sport and history in the United States.
The Atlanta History Center’s property features six historic gardens representing Georgia’s distinctive flora, both native and introduced. Each garden tells the story of a particular group of people who interacted with this land and its plants in distinguishable ways.
The Atlanta History Center also operates three historic houses, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Smith Family Farm (registered as the Tullie Smith Farm) and the Swan House, both located at our Buckhead campus, take visitors back in time to explore the lifestyles of Atlantans from the 1860s through the 1930s.
Our third historic property, the Margaret Mitchell House, is located on a two-acre site in the heart of Midtown Atlanta. The Margaret Mitchell House is a designated city landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a popular tourist destination, and home to a variety of author programs. The Margaret Mitchell House features guided tours of the apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind, two exhibitions – The Making of a Film Legend: Gone With the Wind and Margaret Mitchell: A Passion for Character, and the Margaret Mitchell House gift shop.
Designed to honor and preserve the legacy of Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Mitchell House hosts regular programs with award-winning authors, as well as annual creative writing classes for adults and youth, and community initiatives that engage younger generations in the process of writing, reading, and reciting literature, such as the Big Read and Poetry Out Loud.
For historians looking to do their own research, the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center is a free public research center offering a multitude of resources for the study of Atlanta and Southern regional history and culture, with dedicated collections on decorative arts, genealogy, military history, and Southern gardens. Copies of historic photographs, prints, maps, and other archival images can be purchased through the Kenan Research Center.