The National Museum of Commercial Aviation sends visitors into the friendly skies without ever leaving the ground. Inside the 6,000-square-foot facility rests a collection of more than 35,000 artifacts from airlines and facilities dating as far back as the 1930s. Glass cases house a variety of dishes and flatware from mile-high kitchens, as well as timetables and ticket jackets. Meanwhile, mannequins display 200 vintage uniforms for pilots and attendants alike. Visitors can take a seat inside a Delta Airlines 727 familiarization trainer, replete with switches, gauges, and buttons. Inside they can attempt realistic take-offs and landings while navigating the Microsoft Flight Simulator housed within. The museum is also home to one of the first tug tractors, a Gate Gourmet catering truck, and the cockpit of the Eastern Airlines Martin 404 once used by singer and musician Ray Charles to travel from gig to gig along with his three million baby grand pianos.
Located in a historic train depot in Jonesboro—the setting for Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind—the Road to Tara Museum assembles memorabilia and artwork inspired by the novel and its classic 1939 film adaptation. Visitors can meander past reproductions of the costumes worn by Vivien Leigh or peruse the many foreign translations of the book. The voice of Fred Crane, who played Brent Tarleton on screen, narrates sights throughout the museum, regaling with behind-the-scene tales of the movie set and Clark Gable’s mustache wax. Regular tours extend the educational experience outside the museum walls, exploring Clayton County’s various plantations and historic battlefields still littered with cork pop guns and broken water balloons.
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.
Matt Janke dreamed of landing the perfect glass-blowing job. After moving to Atlanta in 1986, he realized there wasn't a single glass studio in town, granting his art a ready-made niche. After settling in, he returned to grad school, earning an MFA in glass with the intent to launch his own university program and ultimately procure his own space. By the time he graduated in 1992, Matt further honed his skills, stockpiled equipment, and, in 1996, opened his own studio and hired himself.
Beyond the perks of being his own boss, having his own studio affords Matt a great deal of creative freedom. He infuses all his handblown light fixtures, tumblers, and vases with the prismatic swirls of his signature style, in which precise lines and natural variations vie for attention across undulating surfaces. A downtown gallery space facilitates sales of these works.
But the studio has also fulfilled more than Matt's original goal of finding glass-blowing employment, going on to catalyze a glass-blowing community. From single apprentices in the early days, the studio is now a full-fledged classroom, with space for five instructors, a dozen students, and the kilns that must melt their glass until they each finish their training by capturing and taming a fire-breathing dragon.
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.
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.