Historic Margaret Mitchell House reopens Wednesday. Everything you need to know for a visit

ATLANTA — One of the most well-known historic sites in Atlanta history reopens Wednesday.

The curators of the Margaret Mitchell House say the pandemic allowed them to close the house for renovations and to reimagine the space.

The mood before the reopening was enthusiastic.

“We couldn’t be more excited to share it with you,” Claire Haley, Vice President of Special Projects at the Atlanta History Museum said.

When the Margaret Mitchell House closed during the pandemic, the Atlanta History Center had a rare opportunity to renovate and create a new exhibit, which they said would help them tell stories about “Gone with the Wind” and American Memory, focused on Margaret Mitchell’s life, times and legacy.

“She was born in 1900, she grew up in segregated Atlanta, she grew up with Confederate grandparents, you see all that through her work,” Haley said.

Haley said the new exhibit lays out the legacy of Mitchell’s work in popular culture and shows the controversy and challenges of Mitchell’s work too.

“We don’t denigrate her, we don’t celebrate her, we talk about her work,” Haley said.

Sheffield Hale, the Atlanta History Center President and CEO said that for better or worse, the ideas in Mitchell’s work, which was written right in her Midtown Atlanta apartment, have endured.

“There’s a storied, very important lingering impact as to the effect of this book, for good and not so good, as far as the way people view the south,” Hale said.

Mitchell’s work also led to one of the first events to thrust Atlanta into the international spotlight with the Atlanta Premiere of “Gone with the Wind.”

“As a part of cinematic history...it was quite the movie extravaganza,” Stephane Dunn, professor of film and emerging media at Morehouse College said.

Dunn showed how there were two versions of the promotional flyers, one for the segregated south, and one for the rest of the United States, that featured Oscar-winning actress Hattie McDaniel.

She said it was an example of how, even with the bright lights of Hollywood shining, the portrayal and the reality of race and culture in the south were complicated.

Speaking about Mitchell’s importance, historically, Dunn said “her importance to Atlanta, to American culture, it is solidified, for better and for worse. ‘Gone With the Wind’ has been here and it is here to stay.”

The Margaret Mitchell House reopens Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. More information about touring the house is available online.

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