Monday, August 4, 2014

Touring Atlanta: The Margaret Mitchell Museum

I'm back and ready to share more from my trip to Atlanta. While there I had the pleasure of touring the Margaret Mitchell Museum which is located at her residence in downtown Atlanta.

Before I get started with the photo tour let me give you a bit of back story on the residence and its importance. The three story home was built in 1899. Originally a single family home, it was turned into apartments during the early 1920s. Margaret and her husband, John Marsh took up residence in a first floor apartment there in 1925.

The residence has a lot of significance due to it being Mitchell's residence while she wrote Gone With the Wind. Long after Margaret's death, the apartment building was left abandoned but luckily Atlanta city officials stepped in during the late 80s and deemed the residence a Historical Landmark.

The museum has been open to the public since 1997 but not before setbacks. While renovations were underway the structure was damaged by fire in 1994 and again in 1996. For more background on the residence and tour info please click the link HERE.

(I apologize in advance for my photo skills. Some were taken with my digital camera which ran out of space so I reverted to my iPhone.)

Approaching the museum from Peachtree. The view of the residence from the front. 

The back entrance to the museum. (Mitchell's apartment entrance is the lower left side as photographed.)

A view from the courtyard and balconies that face Peachtree. 

The back entrance to the apartments. Mitchell's apartment would be to the left as you walk through the main door.

An exact replica of the carved staircase which guests would rub for good luck. Mitchell's apartment entrance would be to the left then the stairs led to other apartments on the second floor. 

 While waiting on our tour to begin we spent some time in the museum gift shop where you can purchase photographs, GWTW and Mitchell related items. 

I was tickled to see our friend and fellow CMBA member, Kendra Bean's biography on Vivien Leigh, proudly on display in the museum gift shop. It certainly got glowing reviews and high praise from the museum staff and curator. (So proud for you, Kendra!)

 Looking into the gift shop from the now enclosed front porch. 

 Several displays showcasing Mitchell's life and career in the now enclosed front porch.

One of Mitchell's personal photos showcasing her dancing skills. (If you visited during my Georgian Terrace Hotel post you'll recall she has a ballroom named after her there and she did take lessons from Arthur Murray at the historic hotel, also on Peachtree.

 Margaret's time as a reporter is showcased. Or should I address her as Peggy?

 Lots of great photos of Margaret throughout her life.

 A serious journalist!

 There's a special room dedicated to Mitchell's typewriters.

A replica of the wooden icebox which would have been in the apartment. (I assume so. I thought by the 20s appliances would have been a bit more modern.) This sits on what would have been a side porch off Mitchell's kitchen.

 The front entrance to John and Margaret's one bedroom apartment.

 Typing paper and other writing implements are spread out on the window seat where Mitchell spent a lot of her time while writing GWTW. Our very knowledgeable curator, Ann waits patiently for me to take photos. 

 A corner of the living room where Margaret spent a lot of time writing Gone With the Wind.

 The Marsh's small but comfy living room.

 I just had to get a photo of the apartment's ceiling heater.

Another view of the living room and the picture window where Margaret spent a lot of her time.

 The living room is large enough for a separate seating area and a Victrola. 

 Every young woman needs her own sewing machine. 

 The Marsh's bedroom looking into the living room.

A cute little hat sits atop a bookcase in the bedroom by the bed.

 I have a very similar bakelite dresser set that my grandmother gave me. 

 The small little apartment kitchen as it would have appeared while Mitchell and her husband, John resided there during the early 20s.

Once you've finished touring the apartment you're led out into a courtyard and then into a separate building where memorabilia from the film Gone With the Wind is on display.

One of the first things you see is this stunning portrait from the film of Vivien's character, Scarlett O'Hara. It's hard to get just how large it is from the photo but I would guess it's at least 6 feet tall. I think it was displayed in the parlor at Tara in the film. (Perhaps GWTW fans can help me out with that.)

 The actual front doors to Tara from the set.

 Story boards from GWTW.

You can also watch interviews with GWTW cast members, the director and other highlights related to the making of the film. 

 Costume sketches for Rhett Butler and Ashley Wilkes.

 A costume sketch for one of Scarlett O'Hara's gowns. 

A sketch of one of Melanie's more austere gowns. 

It really is a wonderful museum for any film or literature fan. If you haven't had the opportunity to visit I do hope you'll get the chance if you happen to be in Atlanta. You can click the above link for tour hours, pricing and a map.

Right after going to the museum we were just around the corner from the famous soul food restaurant, Mary Mac's Tea Room so we had to stop in there and gorge on the most amazing southern dishes. The staff there are beyond friendly and welcoming. There have been so many famous faces come through their doors over the years as the walls of photos show. I can certainly see why they've been one of Atlanta's most popular restaurants since they opened their doors in 1945. For more info you can click HERE

 The walls are lined with photos of their famous guests from presidents to actors, writers, musicians to athletes. If you get the opportunity to visit Atlanta and you like comfort food then you need to stop by on an empty stomach.

Of course I had to show some food. I went crazy with chicken fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, mac n cheese, dressing and gravy, corn bread and not pictured is key lime pie. Luckily when you stay in downtown Atlanta you get the opportunity to walk a little bit off. 

I hope you enjoyed Part Two of my Atlanta tour. I'll be finishing up at the Fabulous Fox Theater next.

Have a great week, everyone!