True
True "Windies" can identify every one of these itty-bitty people by name.

Road to Tara Museum

Field review by the editors.

Jonesboro, Georgia

If ever there was a place that merited a Gone With the Wind museum, it's Jonesboro. Margaret Mitchell wrote the book based (loosely) on tales told by her grandparents who lived on a planation just outside the city. "You're in the town where Margaret Mitchell got her ideas," said Danielle Conroy, director of communications for the county CVB, which runs the Road to Tara Museum. Jonesboro was christened "Official Home of Gone With the Wind" by no less an authority than Margaret Mitchell's brother.

Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, dapper even as a dummy.
Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, dapper even as a dummy.

The Road to Tara Museum stresses its local angle and skews mostly toward the film, featuring costume reproductions sewn by the Road to Tara Costume Guild using Walter Plunkett's original design sketches.

The Gone With the Wind Museum in nearby Marietta has Scarlett O'Hara's actual film honeymoon dress, but this museum has her underpants, which poor Scarlett is wearing as she is vigorously laced into a corset by Mammy in an early scene (The underpants have a 24 inch waist).

he splendor that is Gone With The Wind. Scarlett's underpants are a prize exhibit.
The splendor that is Gone With The Wind. Scarlett's underpants are a prize exhibit.

One corner of the museum is devoted to relics from the movie's Dec. 15, 1939 world premiere in Atlanta; the event was such a big deal that Georgia's governor declared it a state holiday. There's a Loews Grand Theater marquee, lobby poster, bricks, carpet, and a section of seats (no cupholders back then) as well as four large portraits of the film's main characters that hung from a building across the street. The South loved Gone With the Wind, which Danielle finds a little disconcerting. "Does the rest of the world see the South as just women walking around in hoop skirts all the time? The pretty version?"

Seats from the Loews Grand Theater in Atlanta, where Gone With the Wind had
Seats from the Loews Grand Theater in Atlanta, where Gone With the Wind had its world premiere.

The museum tries to set the record straight with its exhibits on the real Civil War in Jonesboro (it was bloody) and a "Dispelling a Stereotype" display about Mammy. But there's also the Melly Meadows exhibit, a Jonesboro girl who won a Georgia contest in the 1980s as the best Scarlett O'Hara lookalike, and made a career out of touring the world in pretty hoop skirts.

The museum provides self-guided tour brochures in 11 different languages, offers an entire wall of Gone With the Wind tribute dolls, a "Home of Gone With the Wind" photo-op in front of the made-for-the-movie Tara plantation home, and a display of Gone With the Wind parodies that include a nuclear Armageddon poster ("Wind" = atomic fireball) featuring Ronald Reagan as Rhett and Margaret Thatcher as Scarlett, and a "Scarlett O'Hara Loves Jimmy Carter" campaign button.

Like all great pop culture icons, Gone With the Wind can be adapted pretty much however we want, and if that evokes images of haughty huffs, surging emotions, and unbreakable spirits, so much the better.

Also see: Scarlett O'Hara's Curtain Dress | Gone With the Wind Museum

Road to Tara Museum

Address:
104 N. Main St., Jonesboro, GA
Directions:
I-75 exit 233. Drive south on Hwy 54/Main St. for four miles, into the heart of downtown. You'll see the old stone train depot on the left; the museum is inside it.
Hours:
M-F 8:30-5, Sa 10-4 (Call to verify)
Phone:
770-478-4800
Admission:
Adults $7, seniors/kids $6
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Guitar-Shaped HouseGuitar-Shaped House, Fayetteville, GA - 5 mi.
Doll Head TrailDoll Head Trail, Atlanta, GA - 11 mi.
World's Longest Courthouse BenchWorld's Longest Courthouse Bench, Fayetteville, GA - 8 mi.
In the region:
Huge Mailbox, Douglasville, GA - 28 mi.

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June 25, 2018

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