Holiday Spirit Brings History to Life at Swan House, Smith Family Farm on Saturday

All of the Atlanta History Center's facilities will have educators, actors, music and crafts for visitors to enjoy.

Credit: Atlanta History Center
Credit: Atlanta History Center

The Holiday Spirit will fill the Atlanta History Center, Swan House and the Smith Famiy Farm with special events scheduled Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


Explore holidays past at Smith Family Farm and Swan House where guests encounter friendly “spirits” sharing their holiday goings-on during the 1860s and the 1930s. At Smith Family Farm, guests meet and interact with members of the Smith household and their neighbors in the year 1863, as they prepare for the holidays and welcome soldiers returning from war on furlough. Demonstrations of blacksmithing, candle-dipping, and open-hearth cooking showcase time-honored traditions of the South.

At Swan House, guests observe the holiday decorations and meet the individuals who kept the house running during the busy holiday season of 1933, including the decorator, chauffeur and maid.

The Holiday Spirit
Atlanta History Center’s annual family holiday program
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013; 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Atlanta History Center
130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305
Free to members; included in the cost of general admission for nonmembers. (Purchase advance tickets online and save. AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/Family or call 404.814.4000.)


Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Atlanta favorite Food Truck vendors.

The Atlanta History Center receives funding for this program from the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of Fulton County Arts Council.

Smith Family Farm

Holiday Decorations - The Smith home is adorned with fresh greenery, family stockings hanging from the hearth, and more timeless traditions of 1863.

Children’s Holiday Craft Activity – Children can create a traditional 1860s holiday ornament.

Journeys to Holidays Past – Encounter characters from 1863 holiday past as they demonstrate traditional crafts and skills such as open-hearth cooking and candlemaking.  Be sure to visit with soldiers in a Civil War encampment at Smith Family Farm.

Thomas “Bear” Hale, Blacksmith and Town Gossip: Meet Bear and learn about the important role of a blacksmith on a 19thcentury farm.  You can also get an earful of what’s going on around town and with the other farmworkers.

James “Wash” and Jasper Smith: Two of the Smith boys help bring on the spirit of the holidays with music and stories.

Jubi, Enslaved Farmworker: As Jubi prepares the holiday meal, connect with her struggle to maintain time-honored holiday traditions from Africa while contemplating the hint of freedom that grows with each victory of the Union Army.

Swan House

Holiday Decorations – With period appropriate decorations from the 1930s, the grand tree is adorned with glass ornaments, stockings hang on the family room fireplace, and greenery is placed all around the house.

Children’s Holiday Craft Activity – Children can create a traditional 1930s holiday ornament with the help of Ruby Ross Wood, the Swan House interior decorator.

Journey to Holidays Past – Encounter first-hand experiences with characters from 1933 holiday past including the Inman’s chauffer, decorator, and maid.

Paperboy, 1933 Raconteur: Meet the paperboy at Swan House before entering the residence and hear all of the newsworthy holiday headlines of 1933.

Bina Lockett, Maid and Cook: Bina tells you about her many duties as a household maid in a large home, as you help her complete some of her daily kitchen chores. She will share holiday recipes of the 1930s and may even demonstrate one for you before offering a special recipe to take home and try for the family.

Philip Trammell Shutze, Architect of Swan House: Mr. Shutze discusses his design and inspirations for the house as well as his job as an architect and invites you to draw the plans for your own dream house.

Ruby Ross Wood, Interior Designer of Swan House: Consult with Ruby about her vision as a decorator and join her in designing a room on a Depression-era budget as well as discussions of popular holiday décor.

Grant Carter, Inman Chauffeur and Butler: Mr. Carter talks about his family's Christmas traditions, and how they differ from the Inman’s.

Mable Dorn Reeder Amphitheater

Music, Octave – 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. – Atlanta’s favorite female a capella singing group performs holiday favorites. 

Veterans Park

Music, 116th Army National Guard Band – Noon-1 p.m.:  The 116th Army Band performs a special set of holiday and patriotic songs. Founded in 1859 in Atlanta’s “Gate City Guard” Georgia Volunteers, Company F, it is the oldest Military National Guard or Reserve Band with service in the War Between the States, Confederate Service 1861-1862, the Mexican Expedition, World War I with the 121st Infantry Division Band, World War II with the 170th Field Artillery Band and the 48th Armor Division. In 1968, the band became an independent organization, known as the 116th Army Band.

Atlanta History Museum: Visit the Atlanta History Center website for details of music, crafts, Santa Claus, storytellers, characters coming to life, and a member of one of the first official African American units in the U.S. Army and more.



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