McRitchie-Hollis Museum

Over the years we have sought to bring educational and interactive programming to the community and we ask that you join with us in supporting this endeavor. We believe that museums can be exciting places for persons of every age and background. NCHS continues to develop ever-changing exhibits telling the story of Newnan and Coweta County and the West Georgia Region at our McRitchie-Hollis Museum and the Historic Newnan Train Depot. Stayed tuned for more on programs and events, and feel free to contact us at executivedirector@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com or write to Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, P.O. Box 1001, Newnan, GA 30264.

And keep up with events on our Facebook page!

Consider helping us continue our mission through membership via our online gift shop or a tax-deductible donation.


See the work of artist Jonas Allen at McRitchie-Hollis!

Meet the artist at an opening reception 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22

We are excited to announce that on Thursday, Feb. 22 a new exhibit featuring the works of Haitian artist Jonas Allen will open at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum.

Jonas Allen

The show will be on view through March.

Allen, currently a resident of this area, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After his secondary education at the Lycee Toussaint, he visited the Haitian Artist Co-op. There he impressed some local artists and he decided to take his childhood passion seriously. Soon afterward, he and Patrick Wah, hungry to learn the essence of the craft of painting, began visiting the Master Studios of the Academy of the Beaux Arts, as well as the primitive masters, who taught them new techniques. Later Allen met Bernard Wah and one of the leading Haitian art critics, Michelle Philippe Lerebour, who noticed his talent and guided him. In 1981 Allen immigrated to the U.S. and continued his career, and now his works hang in many private collections and galleries around the globe. He maintains a studio in Atlanta and exhibits his works around the world.
“I glance over the universe, I ponder over the history and cultures of humanity,” said Allen. “I feel the joy and suffering of our world. I blend them all along with what they had made of me. Then, on my canvas, spontaneously, I pour it all.”
A free public reception will be held for the artist at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. Specialty Hatian food dishes will be served and music will be provided by Musicology. You are invited to attend!

Rainy Days 37×37 2008 by Jonas Allen

Frustration 48×60 2015 by Jonas Allen


For Black History Month

Visit Special February Exhibit “UNBURIED” in the McRitchie-Hollis courtyard

In the 19th century, People of Color comprised half of Newnan’s population.
Overwhelmingly, their names, stories, and grave sites are lost forever.

“UNBURIED” exhibit for Black History Month in McRitchie-Hollis courtyard.

A program presented by Newnan-Coweta Historical Society Tuesday evening Feb. 13 at McRitchie-Hollis Museum invited attendees to help remember some of those early Cowetans. Christine B. Arinze-Samuel, better known to audiences as “Sistah Olufemi,” brought her individual style of storytelling for the unveiling of the NCHS’s new outdoor exhibit, “UNBURIED.”

Drums like this small one held by Christine B. Arinze-Samuel, better known to audiences as “Sistah Olufemi, were a means of communication. The drums come in small, medium and large, she said during her Feb. 13 program at McRitchie-Hollis Museum.

“Unfortunately, most of the stories of the thousands of People of Color who lived in early Newnan are gone forever,” said Newnan-Coweta Historical Society Executive Director W. Jeff Bishop, who curated the new exhIbit. “Even though they provided the labor that built the local infrastructure, including the roads and railroads, and fueled the South’s agricultural economic engine, People of Color were intentionally left out of our history books, excluded from our cemeteries, and generally erased from the public record, and therefore from public memory.”
“We are trying, the best we can at this late date, to restore those stories and fill that void in our collective narrative,” Bishop said.
“UNBURIED” is one small step in that direction, Bishop said. He consulted local history books, antebellum newspapers, old court cases, tax records, diaries, government documents, and other sources to piece together stories from this important period in Coweta County’s history.

Tour the new outdoor exhibit and learn the forgotten stories of some of the slaves who lived in the Newnan and Coweta County community and helped to build it. Bishop printed the gathered stories and presented them as laminated pages to be held and read by exhibit viewers.
Throughout the Black History Month observance during February, visitors to McRitchie-Hollis Museum are also invited to participate by touching the stones in the exhibit, which are inscribed with the names of these early residents, and “leave behind something in memory,” using shells, stones, and other items that are provided.

Mom Rachel Schory listens to a shell held by son Ben at NCHS’s new exhibit “UNBURIED” before the opening program Feb. 13. Visitors are invited to learn stories of forgotten early Cowetans and to leave a stone or shell as mights have been done at early grave sites.


Simple Pleasures Nature Show Opens in April


Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s McRitchie-Hollis Museum is proud to host its 4th Annual Simple Pleasures: The Nature Show Photography Competition for spring 2018.

The juried competition is comprised of uplifting images of nature featuring landscapes, wildlife, water, flowers and trees. The only requirement in submissions is that no manmade objects are allowed in the photographs.
THE DEADLINE TO ENTER THE COMPETITION is March 2, 2018 by 11:59 p.m. (Please visit www.simplepleasuresfoto.com for submission details or email spfoto@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com to request an entry form.)

Arya Vishwanath, first place winner in 2017 Simple Pleasures: The Nature Show, with judge Julie Dice Wynn.

Beginners, amateurs and professionals alike are welcome to compete via blind judging wherein all photographer identification is removed before being juried. Simple Pleasures offers photographers the opportunity to enter three photographs for the low entry fee of $35, making it possible for photographers from all income levels to compete.
Cash prizes are awarded solely on the merit of work for first, second and third place chosen by the judge who will announce winners at the awards reception on Saturday, May 12th at 3:00 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.
The People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Fine Line Arts & Framing of Newnan (preferred framer for the event), is determined by online voting. Images will be made available for viewing online at www.simplepleasuresfoto.com . Voting is limited to one email address per person emailed to spfoto@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com noting the title of an image. Visitors to the McRitchie-Hollis Museum will also have the opportunity to vote.
“The family friendly event is a joy to behold and a free event for the community,” said show coordinator Jessie Merrell of NCHS. “We hope some of our NCHS members will consider entering this year’s competition, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the show!”

If you have questions, stop by the NCHS offices at McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson St., Newnan during regular hours 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or call 770-251-0207.

We love our sponsors!


Continuing upstairs at the McRitchie!

Exhibition: “45 Years, 45 Objects” 

Newnan City of Homes pageant dress, NCHS “45 Years, 45 Objects.”

For Fall/Winter 2017 NCHS is celebrating a big anniversary with a special exhibition telling Coweta County history through objects from our collections.

Farmhouse model, NCHS “45 Years, 45 Objects.”

Curator Jessie Merrell has selected 45 objects, some that have not been seen in some time.

Inspired by similar object-based exhibits at the Smithsonian and the Atlanta History Center, “45 Years, 45 Objects” features photographs, clothing, paving blocks, movie props, and other objects from Coweta County’s past to tell the story of the community.

McRitchie tour hours are 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more inforamtion call us at 770-251-0207 or send an email to executive@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com .


Newnan-Coweta Historical Society earns national StEPS certification

Newnan-Coweta Historical Society recently earned another certification from the American Association for State and Local History. It was among six organizations earning StEPS certificates in January.

For more see the announcement:


Six Organizations Earn StEPs Certificates in January


Be a Member, Be Informed!

Newnan-Coweta HIstorical Society is continuing our 2018 membership drive and we invite you to join us as we celebrate the history and heritage of Newnan and Coweta County.

Simply fill out and return the form below with your check or credit card information, go to our online store via the link at the top of this page, or call us at McRitchie-Hollis Museum to give your credit card over the phone. The benefits of membership are listed below.


Historic Marker Program

Marker at 62 W. Washington St.

Marker at 62 W. Washington St.

DO YOU HAVE A HISTORIC HOME in Newnan? Let everyone know by placing a marker from the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society marker program! See new ones going up at 62 West Washington Street and 20 West Broad Street. We will assist with the research! Call us at 770-251-0207 for more details.

Marker at Wall-Dent-Strain Home on College Street

Marker at Wall-Dent-Strain Home on College Street


Planned/Upcoming (Subject to Change):
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  • NCHS Scholarship — The application period for the NCHS scholarship to a graduating high school senior is open. See the NCHS Scholarship page under Getting Involved for the application.
  • For Women’s History Month, hear Dr. Stephanie Chalifoux, Assistant Professor and Graduate Studies Coordinator, University of West Georgia — Historic Train Depot, March 20, 7 p.m. Dr. Chalifoux will put the “Me, Too” movement into historical context. Dr. Chalifoux’s Fields of Study: US Women’s History, The American South, Labor History, History of Sexuality, and Modern America.
  • Civil War Ruins in the Atlanta Area, Historic Train Depot, April 26, 7 p.m. — Robert C. Jones will discuss the remnants of the Civil War that are still accessible to visitors today.  Jones served as President of the Kennesaw Historical Society for 21 years (1994-2015), and also served as a member of the executive board of the Kennesaw Museum Foundation for 17 years (1998-2015). The Museum Foundation helped fund the 45,000-square-foot Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, GA. Jones has written a number of books on Civil War and Revolutionary War themes, including “A Guide to the Civil War in Georgia”, “Colonial Georgia: 1733-1800,” and “South Carolina and Georgia in the American Revolution.”
  • HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH is coming in May. To celebrate local historic preservation efforts, NCHS is bringing back the “Preservation Picnic” to be held at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Do you know of any local historic preservation efforts done in the recent past that deserve recognition? Please let us know! Contact us at 770-251-0207 or at executivedirector@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com.
  • COMING SOON: A reprint of a classic favorite, “Coweta School Days,” available for the first time in many years, and with a new introduction! Reserve your copy today by calling us at 770-251-0207.

20170912Coweta School Days Reprint Cover


McRitchie Hollis Museum, the new home base for Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, is a 1937 home restored to elegance of the era. The museum has constantly-changing exhibitions of decorative arts and telling stories related to the history of Newnan and Coweta County and the West Georgia Region.
Entry/tours –  $5 general admission or $2 for students and senior citizens. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10-noon and 1-3. The museum is located just north of downtown Newnan at 74 Jackson St., beside the University of West Georgia – Newnan campus. There is plenty of parking in the lot behind the museum, with the driveway entrance off Clark Street.
Our Civil War collection is housed at the Historic Newnan Train Depot, 60 E. Broad St., which is rented for events and is open for tours by appointment. See artifacts, a series of paintings by Newnan artist Martin Pate depicting events surrounding the Battle of Brown’s Mill which took place south of Newnan, as well as information on Newnan and Coweta County’s development from pioneer days to the present.
For details on rentals or tours of either McRitchie-Hollis Museum or the Depot, call 770-251-0207.