Join us for Juneteenth weekend and explore the complex history of the end of slavery in the United States. Gain an in-depth understanding of what enslaved peoples went through to secure their freedom and why their experiences are relevant today through museum theatre performances, author presentations, talk-back sessions, crafts, and more.

Food for purchase will be available all weekend long.

This is a free admission weekend. Guests are invited to enjoy the program as well as Atlanta History Center’s historic houses, gardens, and exhibitions.


McElreath Hall Activities

Featured Genealogy Program
A Conversation with Kenyatta Berry


Join Kenyatta D. Berry, professional genealogist, lecturer, writer, attorney, and popular host of the PBS hit series Genealogy Roadshow for an informative, energetic, interactive and fun conversation about your family history. The Family Tree Toolkit, Kenyatta’s newest book, offers tips on how and where to begin, what records are available both online and in repositories, what to do once you find the information, how to share your story, and how to manage DNA discoveries. Kenyatta has partnered with Vivid-Pix and FamilyTreeDNA on her book tour.

This talk is free, thanks to our partners: the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and the Georgia Genealogical Society.

Talk will be followed by Q&A and a book signing.

Atlanta History Museum Activities

Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
The Order of Freedom
12:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:45pm
Duration: 40 minutes

Ever wondered about the history behind Juneteenth? Written by Atlanta History Center playwright Addae Moon, The Order of Freedom explores the impact of the issuance of General Order No. 3, by General Gordon Granger, on June 19, 1865, and the challenges faced by Cora and James Lewis as they begin their journey from slavery to citizenship.

Mama Koku’s Stories
1:00pm, 2:00pm, and 3:00pm
Duration: 30 minutes

Lean in, watch, and listen, as Atlanta storyteller Mama Koku shares stories from freedom, through slavery, to sweet freedom again. If the spirit hits, she might ask you to come up on stage and help her tell it!

USCT Civil War Soldier Experience

12:15pm, 1: 15pn, 2:15pm, and 3:15pm
Space is limited so please arrive early

Take on the role of a real soldier who fought in the Civil War for the United States Colored Troops, volunteering for duty in 1863. Presented with various real-life scenarios, you must make vital decisions that could affect your life and well-being.

Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance

1:15pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm Duration: 20 minutes

The fight for freedom did not end with emancipation. Encounter a paperboy in 1906 who is educating new recruits on the “tricks of the trade” while highlighting the challenges he encounters as a witness to the Atlanta Race Riots.

Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
Clay: Palm to Earth
12:15pm, 1:15pm, 3:15pm, and 4:00pm
Duration: 20 minutes

Clay: Palm to Earth, by Atlanta History Center playwright Addae Moon, dramatizes the story of noted South Carolina potter Dave 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 his pottery and inscribing the pieces with poems, revealing his literacy at a time when it was illegal for a slave to read and write. This 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 the Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South exhibition.

Smith Family Farm activities

Michael W. Twitty Cooking Demonstrations

Join bestselling author, James Beard Award winner and renowned culinary historian Michael Twitty as he demonstrates the rich history of African and African American food traditions in the South at the Smith Kitchen open hearth.

Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
Mary Elizabeth Bowser
1:15pm, 3:15pm, and 4:00pm
Duration: 15 minutes

On the Smith Farmhouse front porch, meet Union spy Mary Bowser. As a visitor you become a trusted confidant working for the estate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Listen as Bowser shares her struggles of living a double life, as an educated free woman pretending to be an unassuming servant in order to capture vital information for Union forces.

Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
Freedom: Jubilee and Uncertainty
12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm
Duration: 10 minutes

Jackson and Nicey are preparing for their future as newly liberated citizens by planning their own wedding. On the eve of this momentous occasion, Nicey’s estranged brother, James, returns with plans of his own. Journey with them as they explore the challenging options freedom provides.

After the performance, visit with the performers as they shed light on the complex history of enslavement and the Reconstruction era.

See Saturday's Schedule