Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Atlanta Olympic History @ Atlanta History Center

Last month brought an opportunity to revisit the Atlanta History Center as it hosted an Atlanta Press Club fundraising event. Prior to the APC gathering, I took a few minutes to again peek at the collection of Centennial Olympic Games Museum, worth a visit for five-ringed veterans or the uninitiated.

The museum includes an impressive, complete collection of Olympic torches leading to a visitor photo opp position inviting guests to hold an Atlanta '96 Olympic torch handle and smile for the camera.

I also enjoyed the assembly of artifacts from the Olympic bid team members who travelled with
William Porter "Billy" Payne, Ambassador Andrew Young and other volunteers who landed the Games in spite of tough competition from Athens, Melbourne and Toronto (Manchester, England, and Belgrade, Yugoslavia, were also in the running).

Also included are dozens of souvenir objects: Lapel pins, Olympic medals, volunteer and athlete uniforms, sports equipment donated by star athletes and props used in the Opening Ceremony help tell the story with several videos and recordings. An Olympic medalist podium and portion of the state-of-the-art track round out the experience.

A sight for sore eyes was an original model of the Atlanta Olympic Village as it was envisioned and mostly realized on one section of the Georgia Tech campus. The area shows how for a couple of months the "International Zone" of the Village included a flag plaza with banners of 197 competing nations (the athlete transportation plaza), a temporary dining hall and festive welcome ceremony area.

We had this model in our section of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) offices at The INFORUM downtown -- my first Olympic job -- and it was fun to see the model come to life and to work closely with the small army of professionals who made it happen. Good history.

Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution brought to light a current initiative of the Atlanta History Center. As the museum continues extensive renovations, curators are planning a 2016 exhibition "Atlanta in 50 Objects" for which public input is sought now through March 2.

To nominate an object for the exhibition, visit www.AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/Atlanta-50-objects and submit a brief nomination statement. This blogger already suggested an Atlanta Olympic bid team item to represent one of Atlanta's biggest and most influential dreams coming true. How say you?

Photos by Nicholas Wolaver. Atlanta In 50 Objects logo via Atlanta History Center.



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