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. In the next few years we will be embarking on a new and exciting journey as we build a children’s museum and continue developing exhibits at the new McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Stayed tuned for more changes and feel free to contact us at executivedirector@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com !

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.


Open house Saturday at 52 College St.

Dent-Walls-Strain home, 52 College St.

Dent-Walls-Strain home, 52 College St.

NCHS members and College Temple neighbors Pat and Mike Strain are graciously hosting an open house of their antebellum home, known as the Dent-Walls home, at 52 College Street after their long renovation project. The open house is 1-6 p.m. Saturday, July 23. Admission is free, but the Strains are taking donations for CARE for AIDS to provide life-saving care to HIV+ parents in Kenya.

The restoration was done by Jerrell Griffin Inc., and the home was decorated by James Farmer III.

Parking will be available on nearby Cavendar Street in the lot across from University of West Georgia, about 4 blocks away.

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Here is a little history on the home from the NCHS Art and Architecture tour in May.

The Joseph Ephraim and Elizabeth Stegall Dent home, 52 College St., was saved from the bulldozers in the 1940s when plans called for it to be the location of a new high school. The property was determined to be too small. It is one of only about 22 antebellum houses remaining in Newnan. The home and property have undergone an extensive renovation by the current owners. Joseph E. Dent was a planter, vice president of the People’s Bank of Newnan, a Mason, and an active member of the Methodist Church. Dent purchased a four-acre property from the Methodist Church and built the home about 1854. It is Greek Revival-style and has a four over four plan with a central hall and double exterior chimneys of handmade clay brick. Early deeds show that on the original large property were a “cow house,” hog pen, buggy shelter and an orchard. The original kitchen building was connected to the main house by a breezeway, now enclosed. The house features four large, fluted Doric columns and a cantilevered balcony. J. E. Dent was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on Aug. 15, 1819. As a young man of 16 he left Virginia with his older brother, William Barton Wade Dent, who had already settled in Georgia, and traveled to Heard County where they made their home. The brothers moved to Newnan in the early 1850s. W.B.W. Dent built a large home, quite similar in design, nearby on Temple Avenue in 1852.


Travel the old Dixie Highway with new exhibit at McRitchie-Hollis Museum

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Featured at McRitchie-Hollis Museum for July and August is a visiting exhibition on history of the old Dixie Highway through Georgia.

The exhibition is on loan from the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia in Dalton. It traces development in the early 20th century of the highway that was a route for tourists from the North headed to the Florida and Georgia coast.

A cottage industry sprang up in northwest Georgia with colorful chenille bedspreads hand-made and displayed for sale to tourists along the route. The tufting process led to development of the carpet industry around Dalton, Ga.

For more on the exhibition see our What’s New section.


Newly opened: Salute to 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta

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Just opened July 19 at McRitchie-Hollis Museum is our salute to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the Torch Run that crisscrossed the U.S. mainland and made its way through Newnan and Coweta County.

Newnan-Coweta Historical Society will be saluting the Olympics with a time to reflect about the ’96 Games during a free reception 2 p.m. Aug. 6 (date changed to Aug. 6 due to a scheduling conflict). John Thrasher plans to be on hand to share personal memories of his time with the 1996 Summer Olympics.

One of the local torch runners, John Thrasher, a member of the NCHS board of directors, has shared memorabilia including the torch he carried along Bullsoro Drive. The torches were manufactured from aluminum pieces made by William L Bonnell Co. in Newnan and wood milled by a local firm.

There are also pins, souvenirs and photographs from various events.

Included are uniforms worn by Thrasher as a volunteer at the opening and closing ceremonies, and a security uniform worn by Cowetan Frank Reece.

Come share memories of the Summer Games in Atlanta 20 years ago as U.S. athletes prepare to compete in Rio.

For more see our What’s New page.


Bathing Beauties:
The Evolution of Swimwear
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Open June through summer 2016 upstairs at McRitchie-Hollis Museum is our exhibition Bathing Beauties on the evolution of swimwear styles with period examples from the NCHS collections!
Bathing Suite_Blue&WhiteThis exhibition, researched and organized by NCHS Curator Jessie Merrell, will shareshares about the evolution of swimwear styles from the 1890s through the post WWII years.

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Entry deadline July 25 for the fall Simple Pleasures photo competition –

The fall contest is for images of any simple pleasure — and the photographs should have a human or animal element.

The show opens the first of September at McRitchie-Hollis Museum. An awards reception honoring the winning artists will be held 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. During September visitors will be able to vote on the People’s Choice award, which will be presented Oct. 1 along with the awards from the panel of judges.

Go to the Simple Pleasures website www.simplepleasuresfoto.com and the NCHS Facebook page for more information on entry.

Entry forms may be downloaded below or at the Simple Pleasures website at  www.simplepleasuresfoto.com .

Simple Pleasures Entry Form 2016 FALL


Planned/Upcoming (Subject to Change):
  • September/October – Simple Pleasures photography show at McRitchie-Hollis. Awards reception is 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. During September visitors viewing exhibition will vote on People’s Choice award.
  • September 13 – Robert Jones – Talk on Sherman’s Destruction of Georgia’s Railroads, at the Depot.
  • September 24 – Storytelling Festival. Enjoy an afternoon of stories from porches and locations in the historic College Temple neighborhood, headlined by Irish storyteller Helena Byrne. Starts at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum.
  • Second annual Quilt Expo is coming to the Depot History Center, 60 East Broad Street October 6-8, 2016. It includes displays of colorful and creative quilts and vendors with quilting supplies and gear.
  • October 15 – “Walk With Newnan’s Old Souls” – Tour Oak Hill Cemetery –Actors will portray local historic figures during the afternoon and early evening walking tour. Starts at McRitchie-Hollis with refreshments and entertainment.
  • October 22 – “Spirits” Stroll, downtown Newnan.
  • November 1 – “Spectrum,” the art of Tiffany Thomas, opens at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum.
  • December - “The Founder,” a mini-exhibit celebrating the opening of the movie about the McDonald’s founder filmed partially in Newnan., at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Film opening moved from August to December.
  • December 1 – Newnan-Coweta Historical Society Christmas Party.
  • December 2 – Candlelight Tour.

For more information stop by McRitchie-Hollis at 74 Jackson Street or call us at 770-251-0207. We keep our web site here at www.newnancowetahistoricalsociety updated, as well as regular posts on our Facebook page.


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.
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 new University of West Georgia – Newnan campus. There is plenty of parking in the lot behind the museum.
The Male Academy at 30 Temple Avenue is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. (and by appointment, call 770-251-0207). The Male Academy currently features exhibitions related to quilts, along with furnishings from Coweta’s early years. Donations accepted.
Our Civil War collection is housed at the Depot History Center, which is rented for events and is open for tours by appointment. Included are paintings by local 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. For details on rentals or tours, call 770-251-0207.