The Road To Modern Atlanta


I talked with Roth and Ambrose about how this exhibit came about. The key decision on the way to present the city’s history during the Olympics was actually made twelve years ago, when hosting the games was just a gleam of possibility. The Atlanta History Center (owned and operated by the Atlanta Historical Society) decided that it had to take a broad and inclusive view of the past. This approach was not foisted on an unwitting public by a multicultural cabal of curators; it was decided on by the board of trustees, which was drawn from and represented the views of the city’s economic and social elite—the people with the funds to support first-class programs at a first-class institution. Roth said that she took the trustees at their word and mounted “Metropolitan Frontiers.” If this is the face that Atlanta turns to the world, then the city will have no image problems during the Olympics. Atlanta will merely be continuing a conversation with itself about its past. The world can listen in, and learn.