McRitchie-Hollis Museum executive director chosen
From Staff Reports
Newnan-Coweta Historical Society on Oct. 1 will welcome its new executive director, Joanna Arrieta.
Arrieta comes to Newnan from the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead. She brings with her the experience and expertise needed in the operation of the soon-to-open McRitchie-Hollis Museum, said historical society officials. Restoration on the historic home at Jackson and Clark streets that will house the museum is expected to be complete by the end of October. Efforts on the restoration have been ongoing for the last five months by Headley Construction.
For the last five years Arrieta has been director of historic houses, overseeing every aspect of the center’s Swan House and the Smith Family Farm in Buckhead and the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown Atlanta.
Arrieta, who was in charge of the collections and interpretations for the Atlanta History Center’s properties, shared her curator expertise to historical society representatives last October as they worked toward opening the McRitchie-Hollis furnishings museum.
“I have the benefit of working for a larger institution,” said Arrieta about the collaboration while in Newnan last fall. “I’m kind of a sounding board.”
She was already helping the historical society with a variety of tasks from developing strategic goals, museum leaflets, and ideas on how to arrange and interpret museum artifacts including resources available.
The Peniston-Thomasson home on Jackson Street in Newnan will become the McRitchie-Hollis museum. A bequest from Newnan native Edgar B. Hollis, including some $2 million in funds and a collection of antique furniture, makes the museum possible.
Although originally from Newnan, Hollis spent most of his professional career in Washington, D.C., working for the National Security Agency’s Inter-Library Loan Division.
The Peniston-Thomasson home and two homes near the Clark Street/Jackson Street intersection were donated to the City of Newnan by the Newnan Hospital Board of Directors. In turn, the city is leasing the buildings to the historical society.
The Peniston-Thomasson house has been rewired, re-plumbed, repainted, refinished and soon to be relandscaped, noted Newnan-Coweta Historical Society President Dan Dietz in a message to the historical society membership. “It’s been arduous but the Headley group has done an outstanding job,” he said.
“After a couple of preview opportunities” before the end of 2012, the historical society’s Interior Design Committee will begin transforming the Peniston-Thomasson house at 74 Jackson Street into “an elegant 1930s home that will serve as the McRitchie-Hollis Museum,” Dietz noted.
Among the preview opportunities on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. the historical society with Newnan Theatre Company will present “Murder at the Museum,” an evening murder-mystery fundraiser event, at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum. In the story created by Newnan Theatre Company, the time is October 1932 and the Hurlington will has been sealed for more than 10 years — ever since “the scandal.” The evening will feature beer, wine and light hors d’oeuvres. For tickets — $30 per person or $50 for couples— call the Male Academy Museum at 770-251-0207.
The historical society also will hold its Palmette New Year’s Eve Ball in the McRitchie-Hollis Museum home, before furnishings are put in place.
Arrieta’s assistance last year was made available through the American Association for State and Local History.
“It’s so exciting,” said Arrieta of the historical society’s new endeavor. “The opportunities for interpretation are endless.”
“She is an extremely bright, poised and competent young lady,” Dietz said of Arrieta, who will be meeting the historical society membership at their 7 p.m. Nov. 15 membership meeting at the Depot History Center on East Broad Street.
For more information on the historical society go online at www.newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com or email email@example.com . The mailing address is P.O. Box 1001, Newnan, GA 30264.
The society will also be having its Halloween-season Spirit strolls Oct. 19 and 26 at 8 p.m.; attendees should meet at the Male Academy Museum at Temple Avenue and College Street and tickets are $15.