Guest Author - Claudine Williams
The Gone with the Wind Museum located in Marietta, Georgia is an interesting place to visit even if you are not a Gone with the Wind fan. The museum boasts dozens of original books, movie artifacts, and signed letters from Margaret Mitchell and the cast of Gone with the Wind. Visiting the museum with your children is good opportunity for a history lesson on the Civil War. First, watch the movie, making sure to explain to young children that the characters in the movie are fiction, yet the Civil War occurred. You can also research the Civil War before your children watch the movie and provide an introductory lesson about it so they will better understand the movie and see the relationship between the war and Mitchellís interpretation of it.
Young ladies will be interested in seeing the costumes worn by Vivien Leigh in the movie. There were only a few gowns in the museum, but it was nice to see them close-up. I was astounded at how tiny Leigh really was.
The museum gives you the opportunity to learn more about Mitchell as a person. For example, I didnít know that Gone with the Wind was her first and only novel. I also didnít know that she was a newspaper reporter in Atlanta before she got her big break. I had the impression, from reading her letters that Mitchell didnít expect that her novel would catapult her into superstardom and reach the world. Mitchell willingly autographed copies of her book until she could no longer keep up with the demand. She even denied autographs to family and friends to be fair to all.
Did you know that Gone with the Windís black actors and actresses were criticized for playing roles as servants in the play? African Americans, striving to reverse stereotypical portrayals in motion pictures felt that the roles played by Hattie McDonald and others hurt the chances for black people to land non-stereotypical roles. Some people felt that the characters did not accurately reflect the ills of slavery. At the museum, youíll get to see a letter written by Ms. McDonald and other black cast members stating that they support the movie. The letter-writers apparently received help or a push from the Gone with the Wind publicity department. Roles for black actors were so limited that the actors were probably happy to have the work and the opportunity to perform in the movie version of the best-selling book. Visiting the museum was an enlightening experience on many different levels. I could have stayed and browsed for a couple of hours.
If you happen to visit White Water Theme Park or other attractions in Marietta, Georgia, swing by the Square and stop inside the museum. The museum is located at 18 Whitlock Avenue in an old warehouse building near railroad tracks. Call 770-794-5576 for more information.