The Atlanta History Center Spent $35 Million to Restore and House the Atlanta Cyclorama-Was It Worth It?

Pat Young

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As many of you know, the Atlanta History Center opened a new exhibit in a specially built building exhibitting the Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama. The entire project cost $35 million. About ten million dollars of that money came from a single donor, but the rest had to be raised. Here is the thread I started on the opening:

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/ne...-restored-battle-of-atlanta-cyclorama.155152/

The new building houses the painting as well as exhibits on the Civil War and the images created to commemorate the Civil War.

We are all folks interested in the war, so likely most of us are happy with this new development. A painting preserved, another place to visit.

I wanted to ask a broader question. Was this a good use of $35 million?

Many of you have said on CWT that there is declining interest in the Civil War. Does this mean that in a few years the now-crowded building will be an empty white elephant? Will the expenditure ever be recouped by the museum in additional entrance fees? Will Atlanta see an uptick in tourism as a "destination" for Civil War tourism? Will the painting and surrounding exhibits enhance historical knowledge or encourage school children to study history? Please don't restrict yourself to my questions in your comments.

What is your opinion?
 

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Pat. I think anytime someone is kind enough to donate money to preserve any part of our history it is a very wise and efficient investment. My sister and I donate to our local historical societies and other historical "charities" in our area. On the other hand, I sort of get disturb when we do not get a thank you response from some of them, especially Gettysburg, so that particular institution will not see any more of our money. David.
 

AshleyMel

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Well, gee, that is a lot of money! Was it of good use? I think that might be subjective.
I am always happy to see preservation instead of destruction but personally, I know some ways I feel even a smidge of those funds could directly be of a more individual benefit.
People do what they love (and love what they donate to)! I give to my church, my sewing groups and my UDC chapter and in turn each of these groups gives back to my local community. I am actively involved with all but some would rather just write a check and are happy to know they are of help and support. Giving to non profits also has tax benefits for some.
 

Pat Young

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I think it was privately funded so it was worth that to someone. Could the money been put to better uses, no doubt, but who would fund that
I am not sure of the sources of the funding. I read that the initial funding was offered by a wealthy real estate developer unsolicited.
 

Pat Young

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I guess that only time will tell whether or not it was a wise investment, but in these days and times the fact that it still exists at all to me can be looked on as a victory of sorts.
I agree that it is good that the painting will still be able to be enjoyed.
 

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View attachment 294131

As many of you know, the Atlanta History Center opened a new exhibit in a specially built building exhibitting the Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama. The entire project cost $35 million. About ten million dollars of that money came from a single donor, but the rest had to be raised. Here is the thread I started on the opening:

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/ne...-restored-battle-of-atlanta-cyclorama.155152/

The new building houses the painting as well as exhibits on the Civil War and the images created to commemorate the Civil War.

We are all folks interested in the war, so likely most of us are happy with this new development. A painting preserved, another place to visit.

I wanted to ask a broader question. Was this a good use of $35 million?

Many of you have said on CWT that there is declining interest in the Civil War. Does this mean that in a few years the now-crowded building will be an empty white elephant? Will the expenditure ever be recouped by the museum in additional entrance fees? Will Atlanta see an uptick in tourism as a "destination" for Civil War tourism? Will the painting and surrounding exhibits enhance historical knowledge or encourage school children to study history? Please don't restrict yourself to my questions in your comments.

What is your opinion?
Last fall during or annual CWT Gathering at Chickamauga Mike (@mkyzzzrdet ) and I flew into Atlanta-Hartsfield and intended to spend an entire next day at the Atlanta History Center but when we found out the work on the Cyclorama was not yet finished and open to the public we decided to forego our visit not knowing exactly what else there would've been to see, instead opting to go straight to Kennesaw Mountain NBP. When we got to the nearby Southern Civil War and Locomotive Museum at nearby Kennesaw (home of the engine General of Great Locomotive Chase fame) we learned that in addition to the Cyclorama, the also recently-restored locomotive Texas in the AHC collection was also for some reason not available, making us doubly glad we'd passed on the AHC. To more specifically answer the question, WE at least would've wanted to see both the Cyclorama and Texas had that been possible, so the AHC missed out on our admission fees.
 
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Pat Young

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#11
Last fall during or annual CWT Gathering at Chickamauga Mike (@mkyzzzrdet ) and I flew into Atlanta-Hartsfield and intended to spend an entire next day at the Atlanta History Center but when we found out the work on the Cyclorama was not yet finished and open to the public we decided to forego our visit not knowing exactly what else there would've been to see, instead opting to go straight to Kennesaw Mountain NBP. When we got to the nearby Southern Civil War and Locomotive Museum at nearby Kennesaw (home of the engine General of Great Locomotive Chase fame) we learned that in addition to the Cyclorama, the also recently-restored locomotive Texas in the AHC collection was also for some reason not available, making us doubly glad we'd passed on the AHC. To more specifically answer the question, WE at least would've wanted to see both the Cyclorama and Texas had that been possible, so the AHC missed out on our admission fees.
I saw that they originally thought the Cyclorama would be open in 2018, but they pushed the date back to February 2019.
 



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