We currently offer four exhibits on the main floor of the historic DeKalb County Courthouse.

All exhibits are open Monday - Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p. m. and  Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Deep Roots in DeKalb: The Flat Rock Story of Resilience

Believed to be one of the oldest African American communities in Georgia, Flat Rock was founded and strengthened by individuals who wanted to ensure the safety and success of African Americans following the aftermath of the Civil War. The community of Flat Rock thrived in part because of the immense communal bond of its citizens as well as the selflessness of its leaders. Theodore A. Bryant, Sr., ensured the development of Flat Rock by purchasing nearby land and distributing it to families in the area. This gesture allowed for the citizens of Flat Rock to build a strong foundation of support as well as ensure the safety and well-being of the community. Despite consistent animosity and prejudice, the people of Flat Rock remained strong, resilient, and united.

This exhibit explores the story of Flat Rock as well as the people who called it home. By examining objects collected over time from the residents of Flat Rock, we have been able to better narrate the lives and experiences of the families within the community. This exhibit would not have been possible if not for the generosity of Flat Rock Archives, who graciously lent part of their collection and all of their expertise to allow us to tell the inspiring story of the community who stood strong for over one hundred years.


Reclaimed by Nature: the Historic Davidson Quarries of Arabia Mountain

This photography exhibit, by Virginie Drujon-Kippelen, features historic and contemporary photos of a former granite quarry at what is now the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. These quarries were historically an important part of DeKalb County's economy. Lithonia granite was used in paving and construction projects, including the Historic DeKalb Courthouse. In the 1970s the Davidson family donated over 500 acres of this land to DeKalb County for conservation and preservation. Since this land is no longer quarried, it is slowly being reclaimed by nature, although traces of its industrial past remain.



Decorative Arts from the Permanent Collection

This exhibit features a sampling of pieces from the DeKalb History Center's holdings, acquired over the nearly 70 years since the organization was established. The emphasis is on antique furniture, with some items from prominent DeKalb County citizens such as author Caroline McKinney Clarke, Judge Charles Whitefoord Smith, and Bishop Warren Akin Candler. Most objects date from the early 19th century to the early 20th century. 



The Mid-Century Ranch House: Hip and Historic!

You’ll Have It Made in the Shade
House For Sale: 101 East Court Square, Decatur. It’s 1960. Meet your modern dream ranch house! Perfect for Barbie, Ken and babies. This red brick number is a cherry; complete with carport, pink powder room, and knotty pine paneling complemented by nifty chartreuse walls. The front yard is darling, the porch has fab ironwork and your back yard bash will have room to spread. This house is so aced that it will fly off the market. (Opened August 2013)


Previous Exhibits


Tears and Curses: A Human Focus on the Civil War

This exhibit presented an intimate opportunity to view a small portion of our Civil War collection and consider the impact of the war on a local scale.  We presented artifacts with personal meaning to help you feel the point of view of an individual.  The title is from a letter in our collection written by Private Dewitt C. Morgan to a woman who may have been a sweetheart.  Angry at the Union forces, he wrote, “They sew tears and curses – they shall reap infamy and overthrow.” ( July 2014-December 2018) 


Highlights From the Guy Hayes Collection: Food, Fun & Fashion in the Modern Era

This exhibit showcased a small selection of black and white photographs from the Hayes collection and provided a unique view of food trends, clothing styles and recreational diversions of the 1950s and 1960s. Guy Hayes was a professional freelance photographer from 1944 - 1983.  He graduated from Clarkston High School and served in the Navy during World War II.  After the war, he settled in Avondale Estates.  Hayes was a regular contributor to The Atlanta Journal, The Atlanta Constitution and The DeKalb News/Sun.  Over 11,000 of his original negatives were donated to the History Center in 1984.  Although very little documentation accompanied this collection, Hayes’ artistic work reveals a prolific talent with an incisive eye.  Hayes’ work included current events or staged shoots to illustrate stories as requested by these newspapers.  This resulted in a lack of diversity of the Georgians represented during these decades.  As Georgia was segregated in its public arenas, so too were its newspapers and their readers.

(May 2012 - November 2016)


Dairies in DeKalb

Funding for the Dairy exhibit was provided in part by proceeds from the 2009 Great Decatur Craft Beer Festival.

Visit Rosebud again! Our exhibit focuses on the history of dairy farming in DeKalb County in the 20th century. The boll weevil’s attack on cotton farming led to the rise of dairy farms across DeKalb.  The one-room exhibit contains colorful signs, artifacts such as a route book and milk bottles, and even includes a life-sized replica of Rosebud, the famous cow mascot for Mathis Dairy.

(June 2010 - March 2016)



The Decatur Arts Alliance marks the milestone 25th anniversary of the Decatur Arts Festival with Artrospective.  This exhibit highlights the history of the event which grew from humble local beginnings to become a wildly popular regional festival. The collection includes festival posters and logos, T-shirts, press clippings, and loads of festival memorabilia. A collection of photos taken on the square in the early 1990s provides newcomers and visitors a unique perspective on the evolution of the city.

(May 2013 - May 2014)


Scottdale Mills

Scottdale Mills, founded by George Washington Scott, opened in 1901 and was a vital part of the manufacturing landscape of DeKalb Countyuntil its closure in 1982. The mill provided employment for the surrounding community, as well as a store and a cemetery. The items in this exhibit include tools and signage from the shop floor, historical photographs, original documents and samples of the products made at the mill.

(May 2012 - March 2013)


The Great Speckled Bird - The Turbulent Sixties in Atlanta, 1968-1976

An expanded 40th anniversary exhibit of the South's underground newspaper

The Bird burst upon the scene in the midst of national upheaval and chronicled turbulent times in Atlanta from 1968-1976. The country was polarized by the Vietnam War and struggles against discrimination at home. A growing “in-your-face” youth culture with strange clothes, hair, music, drugs and a wholesale rejection of middle-class values bewildered or angered many in the older generation. From the first issue, which castigated Atlanta icon Ralph McGill for his support of the war, there was never a doubt whose side The Bird was on. For over eight years it was the “voice of the voiceless” - African Americans fighting Jim Crow in the South and institutionalized racism in the North; striking garbage and farm workers; Vietnamese peasants being slaughtered by American bombs; women taking control of their bodies; students demanding meaningful educations; and young people seeking new ways to live. At its height, with a circulation around 22,000, The Bird was the most widely-read weekly paper in Georgia. This exhibit from The Bird creators was enhanced through artifacts and clothing from the time period.

(May 2011 - December 2012)


Community Champions

The DeKalb History Center, in cooperation with The Champion Newspaper, hosted a temporary exhibit highlighting 20 Years of Community Champions.  As part of their 20 year anniversary, The Champion recognized newsmakers who have made positive contributions to DeKalb County during this time period. This exhibit detailed the important contributions from these Champions by highlighting their accomplishments and achievements and included community leaders from all walks of life.  The exhibit showcased personal items and memorabilia from many of the honorees.

(October 2011 - June 2012)


Attic Treasures; Memories of the Carr Family

This exhibit provided a glimpse into the life of a prominent DeKalb County household from the 1920s to the 1940s. H. J. Carr founded a construction firm which built numerous local landmarks such as the Biltmore Hotel and the Crum and Forster building. H. J. and Bonnie Carr started their family in Druid Hills and later moved into the fieldstone house he constructed, now known as the Houston Mill House. Upon moving onto the Houston Mill property, he restored the historic mill to working condition. Highlights of the exhibit included evening wear from the 1920s and 30s, details about the youngest daughter’s wartime wedding and a case of period evening bags.

(October 2010 - August 2011)


DeKalb Quilt Exhibit

The Quilt Exhibit was organized by Sarah Phillips (Intown Quilters) and Debbie Steinman and had a mixture of historic and contemporary quilts, including 8 which dated from 1850 to 1940. The colorful four-room exhibit showcased quilts with traditional patterns such as lone star, drunkard’s path, twisted bargello, square dance and crazy quilt, and many contemporary themes such as hearts, cats, The Lorax (from Dr. Seuss), stained glass, sunflowers and cupcakes. Locally themed quilts included a replica of one presented to the German Olympic Committee during the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, a quilt made for a child’s 5th grade graduation from Fernbank Elementary and a quilt made from Peachtree Road Race t-shirts and race bibs worn by the runners.

(June 2010 - January 2011)


The Historic Mt. Zion Community 

The Mt. Zion community is a small African-American enclave located on the northeast side of LaVista Road, and was settled in the 1800s.  During the 20th century, the community changed from family farms to a suburban landscape which caused a large portion of the population to move away in the 1940s and 50s and then again in the 1980s and 90s.  The community remained close-knit during these times of change and retains its cultural heritage today. The exhibit was based on the work of students from the Arbor Montessori School and supported by Commissioner Jeff Rader. The exhibit was produced in part with funding from DeKalb County Government.

(March 2010 - July 2010)



All Roads Lead to DeKalb

This exhibit featured a brief glimpse into our extensive map collection. The show featured high quality scans of many of our large maps ranging from 1900 – 1999.  These full size reproductions represent the entire county and many cities and neighborhoods including Tucker, Brookhaven Estates, Druid Hills, Atlanta, Stone Mountain and Decatur.  Original maps were also included.


The exhibit was supported in part by the Grassroots Arts Program of the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly.


(October 2009 - January 2010)  





Unbossed and Unbought, The Reverend Hosea L. Williams Exhibit 

Through materials on loan from Hosea Feed the Hungry and The Hosea Project, we profiled the life and work of this prominent Civil Rights leader.  

(June 2009 - September 2009)