DeKalb History Museum


We will be closed December 19 - December 26 for the holidays.

Our offices and exhibits will reopen on Tuesday, December 27.


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.


Decorative Arts from the Permanent Collection

This new 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. 


Tears and Curses: A Human Focus on the Civil War

This exhibit presents 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 present 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.” 


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. This exhibit will be up through the summer of 2014.


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

This exhibit represents a small selection of black and white photographs from the Hayes collection and provides 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.


A grant from the Decatur Beer Festival helped us to begin digitization of these negatives in 2010.   During this process, we realized the collection was much larger than originally estimated.  Some of the negatives show signs of age, but these rarely detract from the overall quality of Hayes’ work.


Athos Menaboni Mural - "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap"

OFF SITE EXHIBIT - In the summer of 2012, our beautiful Menaboni mural was loaned to Brick Store Pub (125 E. Court Sq, Decatur GA 30030). This large piece includes 15 mosaic panels created from about 3,000 eggshells! Mills B. Lane, Jr., then president of The Citizens and Southern Bank, commissioned Athos Menaboni to create this piece for the lobby of the C&S Emory branch (1237 Clairmont Road) in 1958. The mosaic is divided into three pictorial panels with two title panels of Japanese Nakora wood creating a triptych. The title panels read, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Born in Italy in 1895, Menaboni became a well-known artist in Georgia from the 1930s on. Between 1951 and 1969, he was commissioned by Mills Lane to paint murals in various C&S banks. Menaboni is often hailed as the heir of James Audubon and painted over l50 species of birds, eventually publishing Menaboni's Birds, in 1950.


The piece is on loan to the Brick Store Pub, and we are grateful to the owners for providing such a prominent spot to display this unique painting. The new installation was unveiled on June 24, 2012, complete with a fundraiser hosted by the Brick Store Pub as part of their 15th anniversary celebration. We are thrilled with this partnership and hope the Menoboni is enjoyed by the public for many years to come. Click here for Brick Store Pub’s website.