As those of us in Atlanta have known for awhile, ATLwood is a thing. Georgia has become the second-largest filming destination in the country, thanks primarily to generous tax breaks for productions—ones that have helped foster $2.7 billion in direct spending on those productions in 2018 alone.
But Georgia’s story as an expanding film industry location began with then-governor Jimmy Carter in 1972, after the success of Deliverance (which filmed in North Georgia). It led to Carter’s creation of the State Motion Picture and Television Advisory commission, which helped bring in more productions to the state—a legacy that has only grown with time.
That is why the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is home to the new exhibition “Georgia On My Screen,” which takes visitors on a walking tour of archival material from Gone with the Wind to Stranger Things. Carter Library registrar Carla Ledgerwood has done an outstanding job of curating the collection, which took over a year to secure the rights for, and while the whole exhibit is a treasure trove of information and artifacts throughout Georgia’s film and TV history, three of the sets within it truly stand out. To start, Marvel has loaned the museum an iconic collection of props and costumes from its many, many movies filmed in Georgia (including one of Captain America’s suits and shield, the Black Panther and Iron Man masks, and more). The Walking Dead section features the (terrifying) “Bicycle Girl” figure, Negan’s “Lucille” bat and Daryl’s motorcycle among its many props, while Stranger Things’ micro-set was actually curated by the set decorator for the show (who made sure it looked as accurate to the aesthetic of the production as possible).
Fans of The Vampire Diaries, the Fast and Furious franchise, and films like My Cousin Vinnie and Remember the Titans will also be able to see props and costumes up close, along with the history of the state industry and personal stories of those who work in it. It’s particularly, and accidentally, timely given the proposed boycott because of the controversial heartbeat bill, as the exhibit is a celebration of the economic development and impact (and job creation) that the industry has had on the state, which continues to employ so many local workers. (You can read Olivia Cathcart’s take on why studios should stay and fight here).
The exhibition will run through the end of the year; if you live in Atlanta or are visiting the area, you can visit the Carter Museum’s site for more details on dropping by (and also touring the beautiful sprawling grounds, which offer some really great views of downtown). Tickets are available here, and as someone who has lived in Atlanta for a long time and only recently visited the Carter museum campus, I can confirm that it makes for a lovely and unique (and not overly crowded) afternoon.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV