The American West stands frozen in time at Booth Western Art Museum, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The bronze forms of cowboys and many of the Native Americans encountered by Lewis and Clark populate the sculpture court. At the hall's center stands Vic Payne's Eagle Catcher, a two-story sculpture that depicts a large eagle with its wings outstretched. Its talons lock with the arms of a Native American man who leans backwards as he grapples with the aviary predator—a symbol of the struggle for the American West.
The impressive sculpture is just one stop on the museum's tour, which takes visitors into a permanent collection that comprises more than a dozen galleries and temporary exhibit halls featuring as many as 12 exhibits each year that explore the west from the 1800s through present day. More than 100 traditional paintings and sculptures by the likes of Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and George Catlin depict cowboys, Native American cultures, and breathtaking natural landscapes in the American West Gallery. Other spaces focus on the Civil War, while the Modern West Gallery interprets the western United States through abstract paintings and other contemporary forms by such artists as Nelson Boren, Thom Ross, and Ed Mell. Beneath the portraits of every U.S. president in the Carolyn and James Millar Presidential Gallery, personal letters written by the robotic arm of each leader humanize the lofty figures of American history.
In addition to exhibits, Booth Western Art Museum hosts adult art classes and seasonal events, such as April's "Civil War Comes Alive!", wherein visitors might stumble upon Abraham Lincoln mid-Gettysburg Address or spot soldiers firing cannons, and October's Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium, which features Native American dancing, gun-fight reenactments, and a traditional western marketplace. Kids can savor hands-on history in Sagebrush Ranch, where a three-quarter-scale stagecoach, an authentic loom, real Western wear, and a bounty of other attractions await to grant little ones with an immersive educational experience.
The curators of the Marietta Museum of History honor the heritage of Marietta and Cobb Counties with educational events, rotating exhibits, and four specialized galleries that focus on different facets of Marietta tradition: home life, general history, the military, and the Civil War Union Raiders. Since 2000, museum staffers have hosted more than 90,000 visitors, guiding groups past Native American artifacts and antiquated industrial machinery in the General History gallery and navigating a 15.5-acre aviation park filled with civilian and military aircraft manufactured in Marietta. Guns, shells, and uniforms line the cases in the Military gallery, which elucidates the stories of the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and Vietnam, among others. The museum?s special exhibits rotate several times a year, with themes such as Y?All Come Eat: Exploration of Southern Food Ways, which features the nation?s largest display of antebellum macaroni costumes. Visitors can drop by Monday?Saturday, or pick up a membership to receive a newsletter and special invitations.
Tiberius, Rome's second emperor, stares at each visitor who enters the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University. His eyes are steady, his expression one of quiet contemplation, and his head?thanks to the Museum's in-house conservation team?a vision of white Parian marble. The Museum, located on Emory University's campus, exhibits more than 17,000 artifacts like this one. Through diverse displays, they transport visitors back to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Greece, Rome, the Near East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Tiberius is certainly one of the Museum's more prominent pieces, but it is by no means the oldest. The Greek and Roman collection encompasses Neolithic works that stretch back to 4,000 BC. Egyptian exhibits travel back even further into civilization's earliest prehistory. Many of the coffins and mummies come from one of Emory's own, Professor William Shelton. He traveled to Egypt in 1920, and among other things, brought back the oldest Egyptian mummy in the Americas, the Old Kingdom Mummy.
Other galleries contain 2,300 objects from the ancient Americas. More still travel deep into South Asia, allowing visitors to view one of the Museum's more significant pieces: a rare sculpture of the 18-armed cosmic Vishnu above his numerous attendants?a reflection of the stunning artistry of India's medieval period.
Such a sprawling and eclectic collection would perhaps be overwhelming if not for the Museum's educational programs. History and art experts lead tours and teach classes for both adults and children, including a regularly occurring session on Saturdays known as "Artful Stories at the Museum." During these free events, kids hear stories of ancient civilizations, before creating their own works of art based on the day's teachings.
Visiting The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia isn't just about seeing works that have already been deemed important. It's also about discovering what the future of art may look like. That's because the museum showcases the visual works of not only established artists, but also emerging talent throughout the state. By investing so heavily in Georgia's artistic community and making the museum's collections available to the general public, MOCA GA strives to preserve these artists' legacies for the viewing pleasure of present and future generations. The permanent collection currently features over 920 works by more than 250 different artists, including paintings, sculptures, photography, prints, and digital works from the mid 1940s to the present day.
MOCA GA's staff displays many of the pieces from the permanent collection alongside works by artists from around the world, demonstrating how Georgia's artistic community fits into a larger global context. The museum hosts rotating exhibitions throughout the year, and it encourages community engagement by regularly holding artist talks and other public programs.
If you’re looking to pull the kids away from the television screen this weekend but can’t stand the thought of visiting the same dull museums, consider a stop into the Wren’s Nest House Museum. One of Atlanta’s oldest museums, the former home of Joel Chandler Harris educates tykes on the life of the author of the famous Brer Rabbit stories. Every Saturday afternoon, one of several local readers thrills children by re-enacting one of Harris’s popular tales. The walls of the small home are lined with mementos from the author’s life, and the rich, green brocade and period furniture give a welcoming atmosphere that your children will warm to quickly. You may find yourself enchanted by the stories as well, and you’re guaranteed to come away with a new appreciation for the classic stories of Joel Chandler Harris.
Conveniently located in the Selig Center, across the street from the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum focuses on educating its visitors on Jewish history, and promoting universal themes like diversity and human dignity. The museum itself is tiny, but comes packed with interesting artifacts and tidbits about Jewish history in Atlanta and beyond. With such interesting pieces on display in the permanent collection, plus a continually flowing stream of exhibits, it’ll likely take several visits to really let the experience sink in. All the more reason to visit the gift shop, which stocks all manner of Jewish literature, holiday gifts and trinkets.