Fall Folklife Festival

Fall Folklife Festival

Celebrating our exhibition Barbecue Nation, this year’s Fall Folklife focuses on barbecue traditions of Native Americans, African Americans and European Americans. Regional cultural expressions will be explored and will feature honored guests from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma returning to their ancestral lands.

Smith Family Farm provides the ideal backdrop for exploring our Southern foodways traditions with chef demonstrations and discussions in our open-hearth kitchen. Hands-on demonstrations explore Southern crafts such as corn husk dolls, blacksmithing, pottery, food preservation, and candle dipping. Sip local brews while listening to the sounds of Georgia folk musicians, visiting with regional folk artists, and exploring signature exhibitions, and the fall foliage in our Goizueta Gardens.

This program is included in the cost of general admission (free to members).


Smith Family Farm Demonstrations

Blacksmith Shop

The sounds of the forge greet you as museum interpreters demonstrate the historical method of blacksmithing while they make tools for harvest on the farm.  

Corn Husk Dolls

Make your own harvest-time toy and discover a part of agricultural history. Each part of the corn plant was used by Native Americans, and the corn husk was often shaped into dolls. This tradition was then passed down to early European settlers and continues today.

Sachets and Poultices
Kitchen Garden

Try your hand at curing ailments. Plants were used throughout history in homegrown remedies, herbal medicines, and natural household and personal care products. Explore the uses of these herbs as you prepare your own sachet or poultice and learn how they have been used historically.


Create your own pinch pot and discover the methods used to preserve meats and other foods in early America. Afterwards, check out the famed pottery of enslaved South Carolina potter David Drake in our Shaping Traditions exhibition.  

Musical Instruments!
Enslaved People’s Cabin

Discover the rich history of the djembe, shakere, and other West African instruments -- how they shaped and were shaped by America’s enslaved community. Learn about resistance through music by playing and singing along with our museum interpreters.

Other Demonstrations include:

Natural Dyeing
Open-hearth cooking


Atlanta History Museum Timed Activities

Art Workshop: Community Murals!
Allen Atrium

Add your art to our three community murals that will go on display during our Day of the Dead program on October 28th!  

BBQ Imagination Station!
Exhibition Hallway

Created specifically for toddlers and preschoolers, our BBQ Imagination Station is the spot for unstructured play!  

Clay: Palm to Earth
Shaping Traditions Exhibition
10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:30pm
Duration: 20 minutes  

This Meet the Past museum theatre performance of Clay: Palm to Earth, by Atlanta History Center playwright Addae Moon, dramatizes the story of noted South Carolina potter David Drake. Born enslaved in 1801, Drake – who came to be known as Dave the Potter – was taught to turn large clay pots and learned to read and write, often signing much of his pottery and inscribing the pieces with poems. This revealed his literacy at a time when it was illegal for an enslaved person to read and write. The performance explores the notion of literacy as a form of resistance and its impact on the shaping of one’s identity.

After the performance, admire two major Dave the Potter works on display in Shaping Traditions.

Mama Koku’s Stories
Exhibition Hallway
10:30am, 11:30am, and 12:30pm
Duration: 30 minutes  

Lean in, watch, and listen, as Atlanta storyteller Mama Koku shares interactive Southern folk stories. If the spirit hits, she might ask you to step in front and help her tell it!

Folk Art Marketplace

Around Smith Family Farm

A show and sale of works by:

Chris Allison of Chicken Fried Folk Art, paintings
Becky Altman, paintings, jewelry and knitting
Brian Bohanan of Bohanan Art “Tree Man,” paintings
Mimi Bradberry, glass art
Ken and Judy Callaway, ethnographic antiques, photography, drawing
Rachel Campbell, paintings and prints
Charlie Dingler, blacksmithing and whirligigs
Sandy Hall, paintings
Courtney Johnson of Agape Gems, jewelry
Eric Legge, paintings, with Michele Humphrey of Leaves of Clay, ceramics
Eryn March of Squirrel Brand Preserved Goods Co., small batch pickles and preserves
Kristin Replogle, paintings, prints, cards, journals
Celena Schoen of Muddy Luna Arts, folk pottery
Polly Sherrill (Polly the Potter) with Abbey Hull, studio potters
Suzy Sue Smith with Jim White, paintings, found-object art
Mavis Stevens of Miss Mavis’ Fun House, fiber art

Live Music

FlatPickin' Inc.
Front Porch at Smith Farm
11:30am and 12:30pm 

FlatPickin’ Inc.’s sound can best be described as a country-folk style with an infusion of bluegrass. The group’s members are Leslie Crum, vocals; Terry Austin, acoustic guitar and vocals; Paige Garwood, bass, acoustic guitar, ukulele, vocals; Kirby Black, acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro, vocals; and Ryan McDonald, percussion (cajón, full drums). 

Cash Bar
Smith Farm Front Yard

Local craft beers, wine, and bloody marys are available for sale throughout the day.  

Food for Sale

Lovies BBQ
Allen Atrium
11:00am – 3:00pm  

Enjoy delicious barbecue and then check out our exhibit Barbecue Nation!  

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