About Us

Joel-Chandler-Harris-on-the-porch image

Our Mission

The Wren’s Nest is a cultural center that celebrates the timeless legacy of the Brer Rabbit tales and promotes the art of storytelling in all of its contemporary forms.

Melissa Swindell

Melissa Swindell

Executive Director
Melissa is a native of Atlanta who is passionate about local history. Before coming to The Wren's Nest, she was a curator at two historical societies and a research associate for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. She is a graduate of the Museum Studies program at Johns Hopkins University and American History at The George Washington University. When Melissa is not at the office, she loves traveling and visiting other museums.

Dean Baker

Managing Director

Dean Baker uses his background in urban design, preservation and planning to help share the stories of place.  Dean led the Modern Downtown Atlanta Initiative, an effort to share the history and create the policy framework to utilize the preservation of downtown Atlanta’s Civil Rights era modern architecture as an economic investment tool.  The most recent projects from this effort, include the Peachtree Center Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 2018 and the Marcel Breuer designed Atlanta Central Library was nominated to the register in August 2018.  These stories of the city intersect in surprising ways to provide a glimpse into the period of great change that brought forth the modern city we know today.  This work includes helping to uncover lesser known stories of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta as a founder of the Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Civil and Human Rights Initiative at the Georgia State University Honors College. 


Meredith Deeley


Meredith Deeley came to The Wren's Nest as a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a Masters in Museum Studies. Previously, she worked at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC for six years as their Program Assistant. Meredith is still based in DC and on the weekends, she volunteers as an interpreter on the Asia Trail at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo. Ask her anything about pandas. And in her spare time, you can find Meredith scuba diving in the Caribbean or the California coast.


Carla Ramcharam

Facilities Manager

Carla is a native of Los Angeles, where she owned her own business helping people live their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. After nurturing her family of 7 children and 19 grandchildren, she decided to make a move to Atlanta - and we're so glad she found us! As a lead docent and facilities manager, Carla is enjoying learning more and more about the history of The Wren's Nest and Joel Chandler Harris. In her spare time, she enjoys nurturing her grandchildren and reading.

The Wren's Nest Board of Directors

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up below to receive newsletters and updates about events and activities from The Wren's Nest.