The Atlanta History Center operates three types of exhibitions - permanent, temporary, and traveling. The six permanent exhibitions include:
The Kenan Research Center includes 3.5 million resources and a reproduction of historian Franklin Garrett's office.
The Atlanta History Center was founded in 1926 as the Atlanta Historical Society (AHS). Initially, the society operated as an institution for historical discussion and appreciation but, by the next year, began publishing the Atlanta Historical Bulletin. The AHS was first led by Walter McElreath (1867–1951), an Atlanta lawyer, legislator, and author for whom the Center's McElreath Hall is named. The periodical was later named Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South; it was published until 2006.
In 1986 the still relatively small group received the DuBose Collection of Civil War artifacts, donated by Mrs. Beverly M. DuBose Jr. In 1989, the Atlanta Historical Society built the current museum to house the DuBose collection.
In 1990, the Atlanta Historical Society was renamed the Atlanta History Center. The $15,000,000 museum opened in 1993 with five exhibitions, including its first signature Atlanta history exhibition, Metropolitan Frontiers. An $11,000,000 expansion, finished in 1996, added two new permanent exhibitions, Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South and Turning Point: The American Civil War. The Kenan Research Center library was later expanded and the gardens reorganized, with a fourth permanent exhibition added, Down the Fairway with Bobby Jones. In 2006, the Centennial Olympic Museum was completed.