Friday, January 2, 2015

The Mid-Century Ranch House Exhibit at the DeKalb History Center Museum, Atlanta

Shhh!  I'll tell you a secret.  I played hooky from work for a while this morning.  I'm self employed, but I try to keep regular work hours.  This morning, though, I found out about an exhibit at the local historical society that I couldn't resist.   The DeKalb History Center Museum is located in Decatur, Georgia - metro Atlanta.  They have a new exhibit called The Mid-Century Ranch House:  Hip and Historic!   It focuses on the design of ranch houses and why they were so popular in metro Atlanta in the 1950's and 1960's.  The museum is open Monday - Friday;  you can read more at the website:  DeKalb History Center - just click here.

This is the entrance to the gallery.  The design of this exhibit is a lot of fun:

This display features Starburst dinnerware by Franciscan.  I've sold some of this on eBay in the past.

This dinnerware is by Russell Wright.   Nice retro ads just above the case, too.

A selection of kitchenware including a Sunbeam Mixmaster.  My Mom still has one of these!

Fun retro 1957 Frigidaire refrigerator ad.  I love the pastel colors!

This Mid-Century Modern den is just about perfect.  Look at that wall of glass!

A pink bathroom!  I love these.  There is a great website called Save the Pink Bathroom, dedicated to preserving these in homes.

A nice photo with labels showing specific features of Mid-Century ranches.

Ranch design books and magazines.  The W.D. Farmer books, Homes for Pleasant Living, were used for a lot of houses in suburban Atlanta.  (I've sold these on eBay in the past, too.)

This house looks just like the ones in my childhood neighborhood:

A 1960's map of DeKalb County, showing how the suburbs were expanding - with lots of ranch homes.

This was my favorite part of the exhibit.  A perfect panelled living room waits - complete with 1950's - 1960's music from the hi-fi:

And another view:

Here are a couple of popular floorplans:

Moving on through the museum, there are also a couple of other Mid-Century vintage exhibits.   One exhibit is all about Mathis Dairy.  This dairy delivered milk in the Atlanta area during my childhood years.  We also went to field trips to the dairy.

A little history of Mathis Dairy.  Interesting stuff!   The Mathis kids went to my high school.

I Milked Rosebud!   Rosebud was a sweet, patient cow at the dairy -- very popular on field trips.   You got a little tin button to wear after you milked her.

Milk bottles and caps:

A box like you would find outside Mid-Century homes, waiting for the morning milk delivery:

The other fascinating exhibit at the museum was a display of photography by Guy Hayes (1913 - 1998).  He worked for The Atlanta Journal - Constitution and photographed everyday life in the metro area.

Interesting juxtaposition of two women with homemade food:

A dog and pony show:

Carnival chalkware at a fair or amusement park.  These chalkware figures were prizes on the midway.  One of my friends collects them.

High school cheerleaders, 1950's vintage:

Dad and son cooking out in a suburban backyard:

Mom and children in the kitchen, 1950's:

Two young women playing music in a paneled den:

The exhibit is fun and free, and a visit takes an hour or less.  I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Mid-Century Modern Ranches or retro Atlanta history.   I'm already planning a return visit!