'Atlanta in 50 Objects': A Sneak Peak at the New Atlanta History Exhibit

A few things you'll see at the Atlanta History Center's new exhibit.

  • This is what Delta flight attendant uniforms looked like in 1969. (Courtesy Delta Flight Museum)
    This is what Delta flight attendant uniforms looked like in 1969. (Courtesy Delta Flight Museum)
  • See Michonne's Katana from 'The Walking Dead.' (Courtesy Stalwart Films LLC)
    See Michonne's Katana from 'The Walking Dead.' (Courtesy Stalwart Films LLC)
  • Gulp! It's General Sherman's Order No. 67 (not a good thing).
    Gulp! It's General Sherman's Order No. 67 (not a good thing).
  • Here's an early WSB microphone.
    Here's an early WSB microphone.
  • Look! It's the beautiful new atrium at Atlanta History Center.
    Look! It's the beautiful new atrium at Atlanta History Center.

Question: What do the Chick-fil-A cow, the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and Hank Aaron’s 600th home run bat have in common?

Answer: They all star in the new Atlanta History Center exhibit, “Atlanta in 50 Objects.”

When the folks at Atlanta History Center first started working on this exhibit, they decided to ask Atlantans for their suggestions as to which objects best “say Atlanta.”

The resulting exhibition, which incorporates some suggestions from the public, will be enlightening to longtime Atlantans as well as to newcomers. For people who have lived here for decades, the 50 objects often evoke nostalgia or prompt comments such as, “Oh, remember this?”

For newcomers, the selections may find them surprised at many of the important events that have occurred in Atlanta.

Here is your sneak peek of what you will see:

  • A first edition of Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind.” (Speaking of famous Atlantans.)
  • General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 67, which turned the city into a military encampment. (Speaking of “Gone With the Wind.")
  • The famous Atlanta Pink Pig. (If you never took a ride, now you can see it.)
  • A "Save the Fox" T-shirt. (Remember? Our fab theater was very nearly demolished.)
  • A Chattahoochee Raft Race Banner from 1975. (Oh my, that annual affair was a crazy time on the Hooch.)
  • A Delta Air Lines stewardess uniform from spring/summer 1969. (You may be surprised at what fashion looked like then.)
  • A microphone from WSB, the South’s first radio station. (Welcome South, Brother.)
  • A carhop tray from The Varsity. (Naked dog walkin’, please.)
  • Michonne’s Katana from “The Walking Dead.” (A reminder of all the films and TV shows filmed in Atlanta)
  • Martin Luther King’s handwritten manuscript of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. (Imagine if he’d had a computer.) 

And to remind us that the past isn’t always pretty, you’ll see a “Colored Entrance Only” sign and an autographed ax handle intended to turn back African-Americans from former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox’s Pickrick restaurant.

In addition to all you will remember and learn as you tour this exhibit, you also will have fun.

Besides seeing this exhibit, you will get to walk in through the Atlanta History Center’s brand new atrium, which may make you look forward to the April 2 opening of the new permanent Atlanta history exhibition plus a new Souper Jenny café and an all-new bookstore. And all of that is a prelude to the fall 2017 opening of the new Lloyd and Mary Ann Whitaker Cyclorama building.Yes, in case you didn’t know or forgot, the Cyclorama is moving from Grant Park to Atlanta History Center.

Journalist Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. She once spent many days in the Atlanta History Center library while working on a business history of Atlanta, and, while making videos for classroom use, she used excerpts from the diary (housed at Atlanta History Center) of a young girl who lived in Atlanta during the Civil War.

 

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