By preserving the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris and the heritage of African American folklore through storytelling, tours and student publishing, the Wren’s Nest serves as an educational resource for the community, the greater Atlanta area and visitors from around the globe.

The Wren’s Nest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and relies on the support of the community to enact our mission


The Wren’s Nest employs one full-time executive director, one full-time program director, and two part-time docents.

Interested in volunteering? What about an internship? Read up on both and then shoot Melissa (melissa@wrensnest.org) an email, please.

Melissa Swindell, Executive Director

You can email Melissa (melissa@wrensnest.org) anytime you’d like. Before breakfast even.

Kalin Thomas, Program Director


Kalin first fell in love with the Wren’s Nest back in 2011 after profiling it for her lifestyle show, “Life Plus,” which aired on Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters (AIB). She couldn’t believe that more people didn’t know about this hidden gem. Kalin was also a producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel show, and senior writer/photographer for SoulOfAmerica.com — a site that promotes African American cultural sites. So helping to promote and preserve historical sites like The Wren’s Nest is a passion of hers.

She is currently writing a book about her experiences as CNN’s first black travel & tourism reporter. Her hobbies include: traveling, reading, photography and thrift shopping.

One of Kalin’s favorite movies from the 1980s is Tootsie.

You can find Kalin via email at kalin@wrensnest.org. She loves it when you ask her about African American history.

Nannie Thompson, Docent

Nannie at The Wren's Nest

Nannie has given tours at the Wren’s Nest since 1999 and has served as official Wren’s Nest housekeeper since 1996. Nannie knows more about the house than anyone and dares any one of y’all to prove her wrong. She is something of a Wren’s Nest celebrity.

Before her time at the Wren’s Nest, Nannie managed her husband’s restaurant, Fred’s, for 28 years. Nannie’s favorite movie from the 1980s is Kindergarten Cop, and she doesn’t care if it was actually released in 1990.

Email Nannie here (though in truth, Nannie does not fool with computers or anything newfangled. But if you send her an email, we’ll give her the message.).


Our board comprises 15 individuals from diverse backgrounds. They share a passion for historic preservation, the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris, and the heritage of African-American folklore.

Davar Irvani, Holder Construction Henry Parkman, Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan
Jay Bailey, Phoenix Leadership Frampton Simons, Treasurer Community Volunteer
Jason Howard, Alston + Bird Phil Walsh, Deloitte & Touche
Lucy Inman, HUGE, Inc. Simon Chio, King & Spalding
Tigist Slaton, Community Volunteer


In case you’re wondering about how we do business, feast your eyes on our 990s and statements of review. Mmmh, numbers.

2008 990 (.pdf) 2008 Statement of Review (.pdf)
2009 990 (.pdf) 2009 Statement of Review (.pdf)
2011 990 (.pdf) 2011 Statement of Review (.pdf)
2012 990 (.pdf) 2012 Statement of Review (.pdf)
2013 990 (.pdf) 2013 Statement of Review (.pdf)

And if you’re really interested in our financial goodness, feel free to peruse our Guidestar profile. It’ll be fun! Well, maybe not so much fun as… informative.

Priorities & Needs

You know a little of what we’re about and a little about who we are. But where are we going and how can you help?

We’ve outlined the following priorities and needs in our strategic plan. What do you think? Can you help us get there?