The Museum is home to the General locomotive, made famous during the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862. It also features an impressive Civil War collection and the Glover Machine Works, a restored early twentieth-century belt-driven locomotive assembly line. The Jolley Education Center offers numerous
hands-on and interactive exhibits that are fun for the entire family.
The Great Locomotive Chase
On April 12, 1862, James J. Andrews and a band of Union Civil War spies stole the General locomotive in Big Shanty (today called Kennesaw). Follow in the daring footsteps of Confederate Conductor William Fuller as he chases the "Andrews Raiders" through north Georgia with a dramatic exhibit featuring a movie about the raid, art and artifacts explaining the event, a mock-up of Tunnel Hill, and the General itself.
The bravery of Andrews Raiders led to the granting of the first Medals of Honor. The medal bestowed on raider Sgt. John Scott, who was captured and hanged by the Confederates, is one of the Museum's most prized artifacts.
Railroads: Lifelines of the Civil War
Railroads were vital lifelines during the war, transporting wounded heroes to hospitals and shuttling troops and supplies to the front lines. Photographs and artifacts illustrate the importance of railroads and the hardships suffered by soldiers, through their uniforms and instruments, as well as weapons such as muskets, swords, pistols, and rifles.
Post-Civil War Perspectives
The Post-Civil War Perspectives: 1865-Present exhibition traces the history of the nation’s views of the Civil War and how those views have changed over the past 150 years. Featuring artifacts from Civil War veterans’ organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic and the United Confederate Veterans, the exhibition focuses on how memory of the Civil War has impacted the “Lost Cause” narrative, the Civil Rights Movement, and modern politics, as well as how our understanding of the Civil War has been influenced by re-enactments, literature, and popular culture.
Glover Machine Works: Casting a New South
The dedicated craftsmen of the Glover Machine Works worked tirelessly to build the quality locomotives that helped rebuild the South after the Civil War. Explore the nation's only full-scale reproduction of a belt-driven locomotive assembly line and gain insight into the building process, including a pattern shop, factory equipment, and two locomotives in various stages of completion.
Casting a New South offers a fascinating glimpse into the turn-of-the-century business technology that helped the company market their locomotives as far away as Russia.
Railway Mail Service
The history of the United States Railway Mail Service (RMS), which delivered mail by rail for almost 150 years from 1832 to 1977, is explored in this temporary exhibition. Along with informational panels and photographs, the exhibition features artifacts on loan to the Southern Museum from the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum, including a RMS mail pouch, two RMS badges worn by RMS clerks, and a turn-of-the-century mail sack.
The display also highlights the story of Owney, the famed dog who traveled the country by train and became the unofficial mascot of the RMS.
Jolley Education Center
The Jolley Education Center is home to the Merci Boxcar and many of the Museum’s educational programs for children and their parents. It offers engaging and interactive learning stations for families to explore, including two telegraph stations, where children can tap out messages in Morse Code, and a diesel train simulator, allowing visitors to be engineers and “drive” a train on their own.
Younger children will enjoy the Georgia W. Pierce Pre-K area, which provides the opportunity to play with train-themed toys and books.
Known as the “40 & 8” for being able to carry forty 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 providing aid to their battered country.
The boxcar came 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 in their service. Included with the boxcar is a collection of select artifacts which are also on display.
Portraits in Gray
[THIS TRAVELING EXHIBITION IS AVAILABLE FOR RENT AND
IS NOT CURRENTLY ON DISPLAY AT THE SOUTHERN MUSEUM.]
This unique exhibit features seventy images from the private collection of David Wynn Vaughan broken down into ten thematic sections, each of which illustrates an aspect of life faced by the Confederate soldier being photographed. Investigating such aspects as period clothing, the age of Civil War combatants, and the shared trauma experienced by family members sent to war together, Portraits in Gray is a poignant, sobering look at a war whose public memory is too often dedicated to its military pageantry rather than its humanity.
Portraits in Gray is currently touring and the Southern Museum is looking for additional venues to host this wonderful exhibition. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.