Hammonds House reopens after contentious hiatus; announces new season

Museum courted criticism when board fired respected curator.

The Hammonds House Museum closed in January due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases, which also coincided with an internal conflict that resulted in the elimination of the role of executive director, a position then held by curator Karen Comer Lowe.

Board chair Imara Canady said at the time that the change was the result of “restructuring of the organization.” But the decision met with some criticism from the arts community.

On Monday Hammonds House announced the museum would reopen Friday, April 29, with a show of photographs from the civil rights struggle.

No new curator is listed on the museum’s website, which says that the museum is undergoing “a multi-year reorganization plan which includes a new leadership structure and a more mission-focused business model.”

The non-profit museum is open Thursdays through Sundays, and is housed in a 19th century Victorian house in historic West End, the former home of anesthesiologist Dr. Otis Thrash Hammonds.

Hammonds was an art enthusiast, and the museum includes 250 pieces from Hammonds’ own collection. After Hammonds’ death in 1985, Fulton County purchased his house and collection.

The new season will include these exhibits:

“No Justice, No Peace: Protest Photography from 1967–2022,” opens this year’s season and will be on view in the museum’s downstairs galleries April 29 through June 26.

The show includes photographs from Jim Alexander, Doris Derby, Lashley John, Jena P. Jones, Bud Smith, Shelia Turner, Lynsey Weatherspoon, and Julie Yarbrough.

“In Protest: Grassroots Stories from the Front Lines,” is a virtual reality film series that will be presented in the upstairs gallery in partnership with GRX Immersive.

Each of the four installments of the series concerns a different city. The three Atlanta episodes feature Killer Mike, Ayanna Gregory, and James Tiago Bertrand.

In “My View From Seven Feet,” NBA All-Star Joe Barry Carroll offers visual recollections of his life growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The show will be on exhibit July 15 through Sept. 18.

In an illustrated memoir of the same title, Carroll presents 50 paintings from his life and times, with accompanying narratives.

“Dans l’espoir d’un Avenir Meilleur (In Hope for a Better Future)” by Tracy Murrell will be on view from Oct. 15 through Dec. 18. Using ink, decorative papers, tile resin and high gloss enamel, Murrell creates collages that examine the flight of Haitians from their earthquake-devastated island, with special attention to the female perspective.

This work by Murrell was commissioned by Hammonds House Museum with the support of the National Performance Network.

The Hammonds House Museum is located at 503 Peeples Street, SW. Admission is $10; $7 senior citizens; $5 students. For more information go to HammondsHouse.org.