Published on October 14th, 2015 |0
Buckhead Souper Jenny moving to History Center as part of transformation
After 14 months of construction, the Atlanta History Center’s main West Paces Ferry entrance and the newly redesigned Atlanta History Museum building will open on Saturday, Nov. 7.
Capital improvements to the 150,396-square-foot Atlanta History Museum affect over 37,000-square-feet of the building, including the newly expanded Louise Richardson Allen Atrium. The 5,300-square-foot Allen Atrium features 30-foot-high ceilings and provides an orientation point for History Center guests, as well as a large, pre-event function space for special events and rental clients.
The new Atlanta History Museum exterior features a large curved expanse of structural glass and limestone, which sits on a base of Georgia granite, giving the History Center a noticeable and fitting curbside presence.
The completely renovated entry point to the History Center’s campus was designed to provide an intuitive orientation to the entire visitor experience, better connecting exhibitions, historic houses, ongoing Meet the Past museum theatre performances, 22 acres of Goizueta Gardens, the Kenan Research Center, and now, a new Souper Jenny café, fused with an independent bookstore experience.
“As our physical campus improvements continue to take shape, we want to be creative in exploring multiple ways the Atlanta History Center can connect with, and within, our communities,” said Atlanta History Center President and CEO Sheffield Hale.
“We want to do more than just engage visitors within our buildings; we want to find ways to foster opportunities to connect Atlantans on a daily basis, and perhaps surprise them a little along the way. We believe the addition of Souper Jenny to the evolving Atlanta History Center experience is a great way to start doing just that.”
Jenny Levison, founder and owner of a collection of cozy neighborhood cafés, including Souper Jenny, Café Jonah, and Juicy Jenny, will close the Buckhead Souper Jenny location on March 26 and open her new café, just a half a mile down the road on the History Center’s campus, on Saturday, April 2.
“When the Atlanta History Center first approached me about the idea, I was skeptical. I always had a preconceived notion about what the History Center was and who they attracted and didn’t think our bohemian café was a good fit,” said Levison.
“It is apparent their enthusiastic focus is to turn these old perceptions upside down and introduce a new, more approachable Atlanta History Center with something for everyone. This is the perfect fit for the culture of Souper Jenny,” Levison explained.
“We have had a fantastic 16 year history of our own in our tiny Buckhead store, but I’m beyond over the moon about this new relationship and I believe, for us, it’s the next step in my vision of creating a stronger community here in Atlanta,” Levison added.
Souper Jenny at the Atlanta History Center will be a cross between a chic, funky local café and coffee shop, and reflect Levinson’s unique dining style, décor, and destination dining experience that Atlantans have come to enjoy.
Open a full seven days a week, during Atlanta History Center operating hours, the menu will remain true to Souper Jenny standards with fresh soups, salads and sandwiches that change daily according to what is fresh in the local market. Patrons will enjoy dinners to-go, fresh, organic juices and gluten free desserts from Juicy Jenny, as well as a full coffee bar.
Located just off the History Center’s new main entrance, and connected to the Allen Atrium, the new 4,017-square-foot café features floor-to-ceiling glass front windows and will double the indoor seating capacity for Souper Jenny patrons. Additional seating will be available on a new outdoor dining patio overlooking Veterans Park at the Atlanta History Center.
Guided by collaborative discussions with Richard Howorth and Lyn Roberts, the creative minds behind the award-winning Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, the History Center staff aimed to develop a strategy to combine an established and beloved destination dining experience like Souper Jenny with the concept of a specialized and tailored bookstore, and placing that combination in the middle of the Atlanta History Center experience.
“The staff’s vision for combining a bookstore experience, within the fun environment of a Souper Jenny café, furthers the History Center’s genuine mission of connecting people, history, and culture,” said Richard Howorth of Square Books.
“They are open-mindedly looking at pairing multiple outlets to encourage creative and organic ways for people to interact, engage, and learn more about each other, while supporting Atlanta neighborhoods and surrounding businesses,” Howorth continued. “If they do this correctly, they will foster a community driven sense of ownership and pride for the Atlanta History Center.”
The bookstore, designed to complement the function and personality of Souper Jenny, will feature a mix of specialty sections and topics, including Atlanta history, Southern studies, architecture, and a wide selection of gardening and cookbooks, as well as a dedicated children’s section.
A tailor-designed mezzanine level provides a beautiful view of the Buckhead skyline over Veterans Park and will feature revolving sections of themed and staff curated book sections.
The new Souper Jenny café space and bookstore will be available to host special event rentals and parties for up to 100 people; will be easily accessible from multiple points on the campus; and does not require Atlanta History Center admission to access the café. Parking for all Atlanta History Center, Souper Jenny, and bookstore guests is free.
Another milestone project is the re-imagination and installation of a signature exhibition to interpret the history of Atlanta, and to tell the stories of individuals who helped create today’s Atlanta. Set to debut April 2, this new 7,700-square-foot exhibition features sustainable best practices for educational and immersive technology while focused on real artifacts and documents from the Center’s collections.
The addition of immersive experiences and dedicated Meet the Past museum theatre programmatic spaces through the new exhibition showcase deep, personal, and comprehensive interpretations of the people, businesses, and events that shape the story of Atlanta.
The exhibition will contain interactive technologies and engaging experiences where visitors can see, hear, touch, create, and explore the subject matter and a variety of new media that allow content to be modified and updated periodically as the story of Atlanta continues to unfold.
Additional campus-wide projects include the transformation of the Olga C. de Goizueta Gardens. This ongoing gardens and grounds project, which is to be implemented in phases, is designed to provide a finishing touch to the full transformation of the History Center’s campus that activates the grounds for a variety of outdoor experiences for all ages. Improvements to pathways and trails at Swan House, Smith Family Farm, and in Swan Woods are underway.
Throughout these ongoing improvements, the Atlanta History Center’s team of experts and outside team of consultants are busy continuing to plan and prepare for the relocation of Cyclorama items including “The Battle of Atlanta” painting, the Western & Atlantic Railroad Texas locomotive, and other Civil War artifacts to the Atlanta History Center where they will be restored and housed in a new state-of-the-art facility, as part of a 75 year license agreement with the city of Atlanta.
Construction on the Lloyd and Mary Ann Whitaker Cyclorama Building is set to begin fall 2015 and open in 2017.
The transformative projects, which have been designed by architects W. Grant Moseley and Larry Sweat of MSTSD, Inc., and landscape architect Mack R.Cain, of Mack Cain Design Studio at Travis Pruitt & Associates, among others, are implemented by a team that includes C.D. Moody Construction and Jackson McQuigg, Atlanta History Center Vice President of Properties.
For updates on construction, upcoming exhibitions, calendar of events, or more information, visit www.AtlantaHistoryCenter.com or follow the center on Facebook.