Tiberius, Rome's second emperor, stares at each visitor who enters the Michael C. Carlos Museum. 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.
Confined to plutonium-powered DeLoreans and unwieldy telephone booths, time travel is a dangerous and mischief-baiting activity. Instead, let history repeat itself as often as you can stand it with today’s Groupon: $42 gets two adults and up to four children or grandchildren (under 18) a yearlong family membership to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History (an $85 value). Individuals can purchase solo museum membership, including admission and member benefits for one person, for $30 (a $60 value).
Snuggled beside the Jimmy Carter Library, the museum explores the Carter administration through photographs, memorabilia, and multimedia installations. Museum guests are immersed in a modern American presidency as they peruse exhibits, watch videos, and re-enact their favorite executive orders in an exact replica of the Oval Office. Permanent exhibits display diplomatic gifts and detail the significant events of President Carter's life, political career, and little known stint as a ventriloquist. Rotating exhibits and special events explore American political history—the current special exhibit, Mixing Metaphors, displays more than 90 works of art from African American artists.
Alliance Theatre has staged ghost stories, fairy tales, and beloved Broadway musicals for more than four decades, earning it a Regional Theatre Tony Award for its memorable productions. Haled by ArtsATL.com as “an incredibly engaging and tightly focused evening at the theater,” I Just Stopped By to See the Man casts a mysterious pall over audiences with its tale of three characters seeking redemption. Accomplished musician and actor “Mississippi” Charles Bevel pours himself into the leading role of Jesse “The Man” Davidson, a legendary bluesman playing possum from fame while living in a shotgun shack with his daughter Della. Like Robert Johnson, Jesse is fabled to have traded his soul to the devil for his musical talents, which now collect dust while his guitar gently weeps. When Karl, a British rock star, hunts down “The Man” in hopes of learning from the master and luring him back to the stage, conflicts unfold and secrets are revealed. Brimming with authentic Delta blues songs and a surplus of wry wisdom, the intimate character study works its mojo on music fans and theater buffs alike.
Starting in 6500 B.C., Africans made great advancements in agriculture, astronomy, philosophy, and medicine. At The APEX Museum, the history of African-Americans begins on this uplifting note before venturing through what the museum calls the "Door of No Return." This section of the museum traces the history of slavery in unflinching detail and profiles the heroes who fought back, such as Henry "Box" Brown and Harriet Tubman.
After the exhibits reach the Reconstruction Era, the museum focuses on Atlanta's African-American history as framed by Auburn Avenue. Artifacts, photographs, and multimedia spotlight the ways in which this street was a beacon of African-America entertainment, education, and entrepreneurship from the mid-1800s to the 1960s. APEX calls special attention to entrepreneurship with its replica of the Yates and Milton Drug Store, one of the first Atlanta businesses owned by African-Americans.
Along with its in-house exhibitions, the museum curates several travelling exhibitions that bring African-American historical perspectives to institutions around the country. Those include Breaking Barriers, an examination of African-American contributions to the American space program, and Whats the Big Idea?, which celebrates the African-American inventors of objects such as the ice cream scooper.
The Museum of Design Atlanta educates design enthusiasts through subtle and brazen examples of design through rotating exhibits and conversational programs. In the small boutique museum's airy rooms, exhibits showcase design across a wide spectrum of objects. Guest speakers regale MODA audiences once a month with discussions of their work, divulging where they get their inspiration, how they started in design, and current projects they're developing.
As one of the leading art museums in the southeast, the High Museum of Art boasts a vast collection of 13,000 pieces from cultures all around the globe, housed within an architecturally stunning building designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Meier. The museum's permanent collection includes nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art as well as European paintings from artists such as Claude Monet and decorative pieces, with growing collections of modern art and selections from Africa. Its curators take special pride in the museum's continued support of southern artists and in its range of folk works by self-taught artists who learned through extensive practice or by sleeping with Da Vinci's notebooks under their pillow.
Membership to the High grants exclusive access to previews of temporary exhibits as well as educational programs for kids and their families. The museum also hosts a film series, and its three restaurants fuel further art-ogling while helping to wean visitors off of a strict paint-chip diet.