Friday, December 18, 2009

Atlanta Cyclorama still packs power

I sauntered down to the Atlanta Cyclorama the other day. I wanted to see how the painting was holding up and to see the other exhibits in its museum.

Numbers alone impress me when I gaze at the massive painting showing a crucial moment in the July 1864 Battle of Atlanta. It’s 42 feet tall and is 358 in circumference. It covers 16,000 square feet and required 18,000 gallons to complete at Milwaukee studios in 1886.

For those of you who have never seen the Cyclorama, you start first with a film on the Atlanta Campaign. Once in the main room, you sit on a huge carpeted seating area that revolves 360 degrees to take in the story, complete with taped narration and sounds of furious battle.

Yakingma L. Robinson, who handles marketing and public relations, gave a very good overview of the battle and cyclorama/diorama to our small group of visitors on a rainy weekday.

Robinson (left) told me is trying to draw more minorities and tweeners at the Grant Park venue, which was repaired and renovated in the early 1980s and undergoes periodic cleaning.

I posed a few questions to him this week.

Q. How many visitors do you have annually?
A. At the present time we cater to about 87,000 guests annually.

Q. What is your next planned event?
A. Our next planned event will take place in January. We are still working out the details but, we will have a presenter here Dr. King birthday weekend. We are also planning to have some school kids come out and do a tribute to our new Mayor-Elect Kasim Reed.

Q. Any recent or planned additions to your collections?
A. At the moment there are no planned additions to the facility or collections.

Q. Any trends in visitors?
A. As far as trends go, the biggest trend that takes place at the Cyclorama are with the students; they drive business sales from mid-September to late November and from late February until late July. Whether they come with their respective schools, summer camp programs, or accompanied by family; kids are the core group of individuals that make the customer base for the Cyclorama.

Q. Who else is coming?
A. Aside from the children/student patronage at the Atlanta Cyclorama we have a large senior following. It is prudent that our facility is equipped for elderly and handicapped patrons as we cater to their needs to move around the facility in a safe and comfortable manner on a daily basis. This mixture of seniors and kids has had a good impact on the generational aspect of visitors that continue to come to the Cyclorama by way of previous family member visitation. We also have a great deal of international visitors that patronize the Cyclorama, which mostly come in the Spring and Summer months however, with the increase of different nationalities in Atlanta due to the growth of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, I have seen growth in this area of visitors through out the year!

Q. What they are most interested in?
A. Generally people that are fans of the Cyclorama are fans of the “Battle of Atlanta” painting and diorama featuring Clark Gable. In addition, the Locomotive Texas that was a part of the “Great Locomotive Chase.” What’s most interesting, though, is how much people that are not intimately aware / involved in the Civil War or grew up somewhere like California and were only minimally taught about the Civil War in school are blown away by the imagery and what they learn throughout the entire facility.

More about the Atlanta Cyclorama

1 comment:

  1. Phil -
    Love your blog! Just ran across it by accident - googled Atlanta Cyclorama Vistor Count. Took my kids there today to see the Texas and the painting. (We watched Disney's Great Locomotive Chase and then discovered that both engines are here in Atlanta!)

    Great commentary and info in your blog. Loved learning more about Andersonville. I will try to "drag my children" to it soon. Keep up the great civil war blog.

    Thanks from Susan McKeen
    born a Yankee, now living 15 years in the South!