How to Know Atlanta: A Guide to the Atlanta History Center

History is Messy. But history is also vibrant, dynamic, and thanks to the many fantastic curators at Atlanta History Center, history is incredibly approachable. AHC is filled with plenty of exhibitions that appeal to all interests.

You probably know about the History Center from Swan House, the iconic 1920s home that starred in the Hunger Games as President Snow’s house, but Swan House is just the tip of the iceberg of interesting things to immerse yourself in here. I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites below as well as some handy tips to get you started on discovering Atlanta through AHC.

swan house atlanta atlanta history center

Where is Atlanta History Center?

Atlanta History Center is located on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead, Atlanta. It sits on 33 acres and features 9 distinctgardens, a research center, historic houses, and interactive exhibitions.

What can I see at Atlanta History Center?

You can find almost anything that interests you at Atlanta History Center. From the historic Swan House, designed and built for the Inman Family in 1928, to sprawling gardens, a deep collection of Southern lithographs for the garden lover in their Cherokee Garden Library, the Battle of Atlanta cyclorama painting, and much more.

When can I visit Atlanta History Center?

Atlanta History Center is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am–4 pm. While they are closed on Mondays, you can schedule private curated experiences with their experts.

How much are tickets to Atlanta History Center?

Individual day pass tickets range from $10 (kids ages 4–12) to $24 for an adult. You can get yearlong access with a membership for $65. You can get 20% off your admission with code “CYNTHIA20”, good through June 2022. Click here to purchase tickets or, mention my discount code onsite at the admission desk.

Can I take photos at Atlanta History Center?

Yes! The History Center allows you to take as many photos of the exhibitions and gardens as you would like with a camera or on your phone. However, if you want to do a photoshoot (like for engagement photos, commercial shoots, promo photos, etc.) you will need to reach out to privateevents@atlantahistorycenter.com at least two weeks prior to make a request.

My favorite things to explore at Atlanta History Center.

Each time I go to Atlanta History Center, I get a deeper appreciation for all of the people who’ve come before to make this city the one I call home. I always find a new experience to delight in and I appreciate how unbiased AHC is when it comes to curating collections. Here is a list of all of the exhibitions you must see while visiting the Atlanta History Center.

1. Cyclorama: The Big Picture (Anytime)

The cyclorama was moved here two years ago, and they restored the painting to showcase the real happenings of the Battle of Atlanta. The exhibition is exquisite and even shows you, in a 360-degree fashion, how Atlanta’s skyline has evolved from the battle where Atlanta was burned to the ground to the tech skyscraper skyline we know today.

cyclorama atlanta history center

2. Swan House (Spring)

If you want to visit Swan House, go in late March or early April when the yellow rose vines are blooming. It really transports you back in time. I also recommend walking around on a guided tour! The docents know so many interesting things about the house, and I leave with a new tidbit each time.

swan house atlanta atlanta history center

3. Special Treasures Tour of Cherokee Garden Library (Anytime)

If you are a garden lover, you need to schedule a curated experience of the Cherokee Garden Library ASAP. The Cherokee Garden Library collects and preserves works in gardening, landscape design, garden history, floral design, botanical art, and more in its extensive (hands-on) collection. The curators of this collection really want you to be able to immerse yourself in the artifacts, so they allow you to flip through and peruse all of the art and books on the shelves. No interest is too niche for this tour—they recently had a Camellia Club spend over 6 hours looking through all of the beautiful camellia-related books in the center.

Cherokee Garden Library Atlanta History CenterCherokee Garden Library Atlanta History Center

4. The Olguita Garden (Spring)

If you love an abundance of blooming flowers in a serene setting, you need to spend a few minutes walking through the Olguita Garden in early April when the tulips and vast array of curated botanicals are blooming out of control. It’s a formal garden that looks like it was transplanted straight out of Europe.

Cherokee Garden Library Atlanta History Center

5. Kenan Research Center (Anytime)

If you live in an old home in Atlanta, chances are you may be curious about who built your home, what it was like when it was built, and generally curious about the neighborhood you live in. Kenan Research Center may have everything available on your home all the way back to the original owners. I was able to pull some information on our historic condo and see the original blueprint of the home, some old photographs, and even find the previous owners! It is a really cool way to connect with the home you live in and learn its secrets.

Cherokee Garden Library Atlanta History Center

These are just some of my favorite things to do at the Atlanta History Center. I am constantly re-introduced to how dynamic Atlanta is each time I visit. I always find something new to help me fall in love with the city even more. We may not be perfect, but as AHC says, history is messy. History is also wickedly cool thanks to this fantastic destination dedicated to all that makes Atlanta, Atlanta. Don’t forget, you can get 20% off your admission with code “CYNTHIA20” through June 2022 onlineor onsite.

Author: Cynthia

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