Party with the Past

Trevor Beemon, Katy Clarke
Heather Culligan, Peter Finnerty
Sheffield Hale, Kathleen Rast
Brandi Wigley, Jessica VanLanduyt
Atlanta History Center
Atlanta, GA

Launched in the fall of 2012, Party With the Past (PWTP) is the Atlanta History Center’s latest outreach program for young professionals. PWTP is designed to introduce a new generation of Atlantans to the History Center and present the history of Atlanta in new and relevant ways.

The Atlanta History Center recognized that in order to reach and engage their target demographic they would need to step outside their normal comfort zone. They developed a framework for PWTP where they host a free party at a different historic venue in a different neighborhood each month, and give local historians a chance to tell their stories to a new audience. The parties are designed to appeal equally to both native Atlantans and to people who have recently moved to the city.

Each event features a short yet informative presentation from experts in the field. At the PWTP on Auburn Avenue, guests heard from the former president of the Historic District Development Corporation about the plans to revitalize that historically important neighborhood. The Variety Playhouse PWTP featured a panel of local experts who discussed the history of Little Five Points as a counter-cultural melting pot. These presentations help to make the history of Atlanta relevant and exciting for a younger generation while also helping the History Center to shed their image as an institution focused only on their own neighborhood.

Since inception, nearly 3,000 people have attended a Party with the Past program, and over 300 attendees have attended multiple events. The Atlanta History Center has engaged nearly fifty of these attendees to join as members, engaging them in the other efforts of the Atlanta History Center. PWTP connects a fresh audience to the center by making the history of Atlanta relevant and approachable.  This non-traditional program creates lasting impression for a new demographic while connecting them to the history and culture of Atlanta.