The Southern Museum’s Jolley Education Center
Open seven days a week during normal Museum operating hours.
The 8000 sq. ft. Jolley Education Center is home to many of the Museum’s educational programs for children and their parents. Open to the public since 2008, the Education Center offers engaging and interactive learning stations for families to explore, including:
- Two telegraph stations, where children can tap out messages in Morse Code.
- A diesel train simulator, allowing visitors to be engineers and “drive” a train on their own.
- A replica “village” of a 19th century downtown with storefronts where visitors can try on old-fashioned clothes.
The Jolley Education Center is fun for Younger Kids too!
Younger children will also enjoy the Georgia Pierce pre-K room, which offers several fun activities including:
- Puzzles, games, and books
- A "dining car"
- Wood trains and tracks
- A "pillow" train to climb on
The Merci Boxcar
The Merci Boxcar is an integral, yet often overlooked piece of Georgia history that has finally found a permanent home at the Museum's Jolley Education Center.
Known as the “40 & 8” for being able to carry 40 men or eight horses during World Wars I and II, this Merci Boxcar was part of the "Gratitude Train" that the people of France sent over upon completion of World War II to thank the United States for aid provided to the battered country.
The boxcar comes to the Museum from the Fulton County branch of “La Societe Des 40 Hommes et 8 Chevaux,” an honor society which began following World War I for American Legion members who went above and beyond their services to the legion. The organization had been named after the boxcars as so many veterans were transported through Europe in them.
The “40 & 8” (as it is known in English) carefully preserved the boxcar until members selected the Southern Museum as its new home.
There are quite a few items on display that were included in the boxcar:
- An intricately carved conch shell.
- A needlework portrait of George Washington.
- A bracelet made entirely out of French coins, with the clasp shaped like a “V” for victory.
- War medals and decorations.
The boxcar is now safe within the walls of the Jolley Education Center, not only preserved from harm of outside elements, but on display for all to enjoy and learn about its history.