Facebook Image

Sites

Tullie Smith Farm ~ Atlanta History Center ~ Atlanta GA

We first found out about the Atlanta History Center at the Southeast Homeschool Expo at the Cobb Galleria. Representatives from the museum were showing homeschool families all the great things about the museum, and invited us out to tour the grounds and write a review.

The History Center sounded good, but we were totally unprepared for this absolutely stunning jewel in the heart of swanky Buckhead, right near the Governor's Mansion. We fell in love right away, it reminded us of one of our favorite museums back home, the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens near Pasadena CA. We have so missed the Huntington, having gone almost monthly for years. Moving cross country can be hard.

The Atlanta History Center was immediately like an old friend, withs 33 acres jam packed with a wonderful collection of local history. Visit the Atlanta History Museum, Centennial Olympic Games Museum, 6 different historical gardens, one of three historic houses: Swan House, Tullie Smith Farm or the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in Midtown which is off-site. Since there is so much to see, we are going to break this into several reviews, as we highlight each one.

Watch the times carefully for the tours, especially if you want to get them all in on one afternoon!

The Tullie Smith Farm 

The Tullie Smith Farm Tour is a delightful living history tour through the wealthy Tullie farm built in the 1840's. Originally 800 acres, with about 11 slaves, the costumed interpreters unveil a slice of antebellum life as you go through the home and grounds.

Special living history days are featured, be sure and check the schedule. We visited on a regular day and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, on living history days the entire farm is in operation at once, and it is a veritable feast of history!

Made of wood, rather than logs, the Tullie farmhouse was large for its day. Nothing flammable was ever planted against the house, to protect it from fires. Glass windows made it a landmark in the community, and further showcased the wealth of the Tullie family.

Step across the "swept yard" a traditional rural southern yard that is smoothly swept, without grass. Probably African in origin, and a great way to fend of snakes, the yard was kept swept by all of the children of the home, slave and free. A white picket fence surrounds the yard, full of lovely flowering bushes.

The porch, filled with chairs to sit for awhile, is an ode to a gentler time. A"Traveler's Room" was off to the side of the porch. A southeastern tradition for traveler's who might need a place to stay late at night, or parsons who preached on a traveling circuit. Simply furnished, it did not lead into the house. Occupants would then stay for breakfast, to share the latest news with the family. 

Enter the Smith farmhouse and you enter a whole new world. The doors were in a line, front door to back door, with a long hallway, designed to allow the cool breeze to blow through the house during the hot summers. The first room was the general gathering place for the family, featuring the family Bible, and plenty of seating. It was their version of a family room, with multiple purposes.

The dining room had a table a chairs, and a collection of lovely Blue Willow china, imported from England. A Seth Thomas clock stood on one wall, yet another status symbol. The sun was used to tell the time, and a clock was not needed.

The life of children on a farm in the 1840's was highlighted during the tour, making it interesting and relevant for the kids. A collection of marbles were there, made out of actual marble, and not as pretty as the colored glass we know today. Notice the doll, which young girls would practice embroidering a face on!

There was even an example of early faux painting in the Tullie Smith home. A simple Georgia pine piece of furniture was painted. Then a special paint made out of buttermilk and red clay (the Southeast is famous for our red clay dirt!) was made and applied with a turkey feather, creating a faux grain pattern. 

A separate open-hearth kitchen is in a building behind the main house, again, for fire safety. Note the folk art sculpted and painted jugs with the scary faces. The children were told if they touched what was in them, the devil would get them.

The farmer's office also acted as a school room during the fall and winter. The Tullie children were schooled at home. 

Herb and vegetable gardens were planted near the kitchen, so the family could grow their own vegetables and herbs.  They planted vegetables and fruits from 5 continents around the time of the war: turnips from Europe, okra from Africa, green peas from Asia, lima beans from South America and strawberries from North America. Large crops like wheat and corn would be grown out in the fields.

Animals nibbled happily around a split log cabin barn out front. Chickens pecked complacently along, rarely looking up at visitors. A darling family of sheep, with a youngster are in the pen. The little sheep was busy at the salt lick when we came by.

The Tullie Smith Farm is an excellent example of antebellum history. Living History Sites highly recommends  visiting the Atlanta History Center, it is fabulous! and tell theme the people at LivingHistorySites.com sent you 

See our other reviews, for more information on the other areas of the museum. One historical review is simply NOT enough for this amazing resource. Plan to spend several hours there - a whole afternoon is ideal!

Atlanta History Center

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30305
404.814.4000

Tickets

The all-inclusive general admission provides access to the Atlanta History Center, including the Atlanta History Museum, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, the 1860 Tullie Smith Farm, the 1928 Swan House, and 33 acres of gardens

  • $15 for adults
  • $12 for seniors 65+ and students 13 and up
  • $10 for youths 4 to 12
  • Free for Members and children under 3

Museum Hours of Operation

Monday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday: Noon - 5:30 PM
Gardens and Grounds close at 5:15 PM

Swan House & Tullie Smith Farm House Tours
Monday - Saturday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Holiday Hours of Operation

The Atlanta History Center is open 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM on Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

The Atlanta History Center and the Kenan Research Center are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.