Barbara H. Hartsfield started collecting miniature chairs over 30 years ago. In time, the collection grew so massive that it received a Guinness World Record in 2008, at which point she decided to share her feat with the world. She purchased a historic house (c. 1850) in Stone Mountain Village, and after renovating the home and adding some display cabinets, opened a three-room museum filled with small-scale seats in 2009.
Collectible & Antique Chair Gallery is charmingly quaint on every level. Hartsfield does her best to give each visitor a heartfelt, personalized tour (and responds to each and every Google review, often citing something about each visit and/or visitor that brought her joy). As the museum’s owner and sole employee, it seems Hartsfield enjoys the facility as much, if not more, than those who pay to see it.
The smaller-than-usual chairs come in an array of formats—lamps, clocks, teapots, cookie jars, and more. There are over 100 salt-and-pepper shaker chairs alone; There’s a Christmas tree covered in chair ornaments; There’s a jungle exhibit; There are chairs in bottles; and in the restroom there’s a so-called “chair garden” housed in a clawfoot tub. Visitors can even buy their own miniature chairs—she sells several in the gift shop, as well as a children’s book all about (you guessed it) tiny chairs.
As she’s quick to point out on her website and in interviews, the chairs are “NOT doll furniture.” The chairs are functional, though perhaps not in the way most people would consider a chair functional. As Hartsfield likes to say, they’re “chairs with a different purpose: not for sitting.”
Know Before You Go
The museum is only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for kids (ages 5–12), and there’s free parking behind the building. Downtown Stone Mountain is also quite charming, and there are a number of restaurants a short walk away.