Decorative Arts and Material Culture Collection

The Decorative Arts and Material Culture Collection holds more than 7,000 objects, including furniture and fine art to glasswork and games, and reflects the folk art and domestic life of Southeastern history.  Many of these artifacts are on display in the Atlanta History Center’s Historic Houses and museum exhibitions, providing interpretations allowing the public to explore the changes in lifestyles in Atlanta and the region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  

The Philip Trammell Shutze Decorative Arts Collection reflects the life of a twentieth-century connoisseur and collector.  A nationally recognized architect, Shutze shaped Atlanta’s commercial and domestic landscape as well as influenced the taste of prominent Atlantans.  An excellent survey collection, it includes examples of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Chinese export, English and continental porcelain and pottery, eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century American and English furniture, nineteenth-century paintings, and eighteenth-century works on paper, glass, and silver.  The collection is featured in the exhibition, Philip Trammell Shutze: Atlanta Classicist, Connoisseur, and Collector, on display in the Swan House Terrace Level gallery.  

The signature exhibition, Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South, and the John Burrison Folklife Collection interpret rural life and Southern culture through regional pottery, including examples of the work of the South Carolina slave potter, Dave. The display also provides significant examples of Southern decorative arts and folk traditions from the nineteenth century to the present, including furniture, music and musical instruments, iron making, baskets, and textiles.