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Autrey Mill visitors can tour historic homes in Johns Creek as part of national museum event
by Nicole Dow
September 04, 2013 02:33 PM | 2724 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center Director Ben Pitman shows off items inside the old general store.
Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center Director Ben Pitman shows off items inside the old general store.
The Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center in Johns Creek will open its historic homes to the public Sept. 28 as part of Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live! event.

It will be the second year Autrey Mill has participated in the national event in which museums around the country waive their fees in the spirit of the Smithsonian Institute museums, which offer free admission every day. Visitors who download Museum Day Live! tickets online get free entry for two to participating facilities.

“There was a surprisingly big turnout last year, so we’re hoping for the same thing again this year,” said Joan Compton, vice president of Autrey Mill’s board of directors.

Like last year, Autrey Mill will open up some of the historic homes in its Heritage Village for tours. The tours of the homes give visitors a glimpse into early rural farm life, she said.

“They’re usually not open,” Compton said. “We’re run by a nonprofit and volunteers so we can only open them at certain times.”

Autrey Mill’s Heritage Village includes homes built in the 1800s, a church and a general store.

“The general store has got the original fixtures in it,” Compton said. “It has a lot of the things that were sold in the store on the shelves.

“The tenant farmhouse is fully furnished like how [it] would be probably around the early 1900s … with furniture as well as gadgets from back then that were used in everyday farm life.”

In addition to visiting Heritage Village, guests can go on guided nature tours or check out the Visitors Center, which features live and taxidermied animals and Native American arrowheads and other stone tools.

In Roswell, Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall and the Archibald Smith Plantation will also be participating in Museum Day Live! The three historic homes have been event participants for the past few years, said Morgan Timmis, historic and cultural affairs manager. She said she hopes Museum Day Live! attracts visitors who haven’t been there before.

“We hope that it will encourage folks — not only locals but from elsewhere — to come and look at these extraordinary resources and develop an appreciation for them,” she said.

Coinciding with Museum Day Live!, the Smith Plantation is also hosting Native American Day, which will give visitors insight into a day in the life of a Cherokee Indian, Timmis said.

To get Museum Day Live! tickets, visit

Museum Day Live! participants:
 Autrey Mill: 9770 Autrey Mill Road, Johns Creek
 Barrington Hall: 535 Barrington Drive, Roswell
 Bulloch Hall: 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell
 Archibald Smith Plantation: 935 Alpharetta St., Roswell

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