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!



Male Academy reopening with quilts
Includes Labor Day weekend Powers Crossroads tribute

Posted Sept. 1, 2015

Newnan-Coweta Historical Society is excited to reopen the Male Academy Museum this Labor Day weekend Sept. 5-6 with a new exhibition of quilts. Also there will be a special weekend tribute to the decades-long former Powers Crossroads Festival and its founder, the late Tom Powers.
Hours this weekend at the Male Academy, corner of Temple Avenue and College Street at the city park, are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. There will be a special reception Saturday at noon to recognize those who have helped get the museum reopened.

The historical society recently received three paintings by late artist and teacher Tom Powers that will be displayed along with other items from artists and craftspeople who exhibited at the Powers Crossroads Country Fair and Art Festival through the years. Powers founded the festival in 1971 and it ran four decades.

Newnan Sesquicentennial quilt

Newnan Sesquicentennial quilt

As part of the new quilt exhibit, the city of Newnan’s “Sesquicentennial Quilt” produced in 1978 during the city’s 150th birthday celebration will be displayed for the first time in years. Other quilts will also be on display, including a quilt made by Coral Moses Hand, whose father founded the Male Academy school for boys in the 1800s.
New interpretive panels have been developed for the exhibit, and the museum has been repaired and freshly painted inside.

Anyone with questions about the Male Academy exhibition may contact us at our headquarters in the nearby McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson St., at 770-251-0207, or email our staff at jessie@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com.

NCHS is also prepping for its first ever Quilt Expo this October at the Depot History Center on East Broad Street. The event is slated for Oct. 8-10. NCHS is seeking volunteers to help put up and take down the expo and to be “white gloved attendants.” Anyone interested in lecturing, demonstrating, or holding a class may contact NCHS.
10 x 10 and 10 x 20 booths are available. Deposits of $50 are required to reserve the space.

The McRitchie-Hollis Museum,74 Jackson St., is also open, showing the new “Golden Era of Hollywood” exhibit, featuring hand-painted movie posters from the Loew’s Grand theater in Atlanta from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. The posters are from the collection of the late Herb Bridges, one of the historical society’s early presidents. McRitchie-Hollis Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m.

After the grand reopening, Male Academy will be open for tours Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m., and will be available Saturdays by appointment by calling the NCHS office at McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 770-251-0207.

Admission for both museums is $5 adults / $2 students and seniors.


TheReelPast logo

Special NCHS “Reel Past” event at Dunaway Gardens in September

Charlotte Canning

Charlotte Canning

The Newnan-Coweta Historical Society and Dunaway Gardens are pleased to welcome Dr. Charlotte Canning of the University of Texas at Austin as our guest speaker at a special event planned for Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Dunaway Gardens in Roscoe.

Dr. Canning will speak about the early days of theatre in the United States and the American Chautauqua Circuit, and especially the roles played by women such as Hetty Jane Dunaway, local founder of Dunaway Gardens and Chautauqua Circuit Performer, and Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, better known as “Minnie Pearl” of the Grand Ol’ Opry and “Hee Haw” fame, who first developed her character in Newnan while with the Sewell Production Company in Roscoe.

This event, slated for Sunday, Sept. 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the Dunaway Gardens amphitheatre, is part of a series of events sponsored by the Georgia Humanities through a grant. The series, called “The Reel Past,” has focused on Newnan’s Hollywood connections. The Sept. 13 event will also feature an abridged reading of Hetty Jane Dunaway’s original play, “The Flapper Grandmother,” starring Jennifer Dorrell and the Newnan Theatre Company players. Artifacts and photos from the early days of Dunaway Gardens and the Sewell Production Company will also be on a “one day only” display.

For more see Programs/Events Upcoming


Up Next At a Glance:

- Continuing is our current exhibition, “Herb Bridges’ Golden Era of Hollywood,” featuring original movie posters created in-house by artists at the Loew’s Grand in Atlanta during the 1930s and ‘40s. – At McRitchie-Hollis Museum.

We’re reopening the Male Academy Museum after recent repairs… with a quilt exhibition. The grand reopening is Sept. 5, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Hours that weekend will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 5 and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. We will include a special weekend-only display recalling the Powers Crossroads Festival – including three original paintings done by Tom Powers and a variety of art and crafts purchases.

Our “Reel Past” series celebrating Georgia’s connection with the movie industry and supported by Georgia Humanities continues with a special program at Dunaway Gardens the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 13. At 1:30 p.m. Newnan Theatre Company will perform an adaptation of an original work by Hetty Jane Dunaway, “Flapper Grandmother.” That will be followed by a talk on theatre and the Chautauqua circuit from the days of Hetty Jane Dunaway’s stage fame. Speaking will be Charlotte M. Canning of the Department of Theatre and Dance, The University of Texas at Austin. She is the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professor in Drama; senior editor, Theatre Research International; director, Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism; and heads the Performance as Public Practice MA/MFA/PhD programs.

Among other upcoming events:
- The first Artist in Residence at the newly renovated house behind McRitchie-Hollis Museum on Clark Street will give a talk here at McRitchie-Hollis Museum Thursday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. He is Scottish artist Peter Tudhope.
- Harpist Ashley Collins will be performing at McRitchie-Hollis at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

- NCHS plans a Quilt Expo at the Depot History Center on East Broad Street Oct. 8-10. There will be quilt displays and vendors. Applications should be sent by Sept. 1 with photos and descriptions of the quilts to NCHS, P.O. Box 1001, Newnan,GA 30264. Or stop by the NCHS offices at McRitchie-Hollis Museum.. Quilts must be received by Oct. 1 for the Oct. 8-10 event. NCHS is seeking volunteers to help put up and take down the expo and to be “white gloved attendants.” Anyone interested in lecturing, demonstrating, or holding a class should also contact NCHS. There will be 10 x 10 and 10 x 20 booths available at the Historic Train Depot for vendors. Deposits of $50 are required to reserve the space.

- Simple Pleasures photography competition returns to McRitchie-Hollis Museum with winners from the fall competition in November, with an opening reception planned for Saturday, Nov. 7 – time to be announced.
-We are planning the annual member Christmas party for early December, date and time to be announced.
-Artist Millie Gosch will be presenting an exhibition of her work opening in December, and of  the annual Palmette Ball returns on New Year’s Eve.

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

Golden Era of Hollywood exhibition at McRitchie-Hollis Museum extended through October


The late Herb Bridges showing posters from the Golden Era of Hollywood.

A new interactive art exhibition, “Herb Bridges’ Golden Era of Hollywood,” opened June 27 at Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson St., Newnan. This popular summer exhibition is being extended through October.

The pastel and watercolor art, made by in-house artists hired by the Loew’s Grand Theater in cinema’s early days, are from the collection of the late Herb Bridges. The 50-some posters are from the 1930s and ’40s. “Gone With the Wind” famously debuted at the Loew’s Grand Dec. 15, 1939.

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Former Loew's Grand Theater in Atlanta.

Former Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta.

Visitors can navigate the original works of pulp art through a special interactive booklet made especially for this exhibit, featuring QR codes connected to each painting. The codes take visitors to movie trailers and clips from the classic films that are being featured. The book also features the last published interview with local collector Herb Bridges, known worldwide for his “Gone With the Wind” collection.

Special “fun buttons” are also spread throughout the museum with sound files, music, dialogue, and excerpts from an interview with collector Herb Bridges, who collected the posters. The exhibit is made by special arrangement with Mrs. Eleanor Bridges.
Visitors can also try their hand at making their own movie poster.
A small “mini-Grand” has been set up, as well, showcasing the classic black-and-white comedy, “Love Crazy,” starring Myna Loy and William Powell. Visitors can watch the entire film as part of the exhibit.

IMG_7554lovecrazy Those more interested in modern-day Hollywood can see dresses worn by Chelsea Handler and Heidi Klum, on loan from Underground Runway. The Klum dress was worn during the season finale of “America’s Next Top Model.”
Forty of the posters have never been displayed before, and this is the first time this collection has ever been displayed in Coweta County.

Tours of McRitchie-Hollis Museum are $5 adults / $2 for seniors and students. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10-12 and 1-3. The museum is located at 74 Jackson St., beside the new University of West Georgia campus.


Join ‘Scraptacular’ Third Wednesdays

Join the fun with the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society every third Wednesday of the month at McRitchie-Hollis Museum to preserve your family history in fun scrapbooks.

The next session of Scraptacular will be 10:30 a.m. Sept. 16
“Bring your unfinished pages, photos, and materials and create lasting memories for future generations,” said Jessie Merrell, curation specialist with the historical society, and a scrapbooking expert.
Don’t do paper scrapbooking? Bring your laptop to try digital scrapbooking while still enjoying the fun! Jessie Merrell who has over 10 years’ experience in scrapbooking both paper and digitally.
Bring your gear and let’s get cropping!” said Merrell.
Participants enjoy our first Scraptacular event at McRitchie-Hollis Museum today. Mark your calendars for the scrapbooking sessions each third Wednesday. The next is May 20. From left, Amy Mapel, Executive Director Jeff Bishop, Michele Wade and srapbooking session leader our Curation Specialist Jessie Merrell.

Participants enjoy our first Scraptacular event at McRitchie-Hollis Museum in spring 2014. From left, Amy Mapel, NCHS Executive Director Jeff Bishop, Michele Wade and srapbooking session leader our Curation Specialist Jessie Merrell.

Jessie Merrell is a soon-to-be graduate from the University of West Georgia with degrees in History and English Literature. She also has an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Gordon College.
“I look forward to using my degree and love of history in my new position with the historical society,” she said, “working with the community, the board, and Jeff Bishop will be exciting and fun and I hope together we can create exciting exhibits and programs.” The scrapbooking venture is one of the first.
Her interest in history began with researching her family history and relating their events to the world around them. That led her to a greater appreciation for the letters, photographs, and other items that helped to tell their stories. She served last summer as the Research and Archives intern for the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.
“I hope to be able to preserve the important documents that will help tell the story of Newnan for future generations and to help give insight into what life was like for those before us!” she said.
McRitchie Hollis Museum is a 1937 home restored to elegance of the era and has constantly-changing exhibitions telling stories related to the history of Newnan and Coweta County.
Entry is $5 general admission or $2 for students and senior citizens.
“We have a newly-paved parking lot in the rear of the museum,” said Bishop.