The Atlanta History Center, one of the largest history centers in the nation at 33 acres, chronicles the life and exploits of Georgians with signature exhibits and temporary displays in the Atlanta History Museum, depicts the history of the Olympics in the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, and enlightens visitors with historic houses, trails and gardens. In the temporary exhibit, War in Our Backyards: Discovering Atlanta, 1861-1865, visitors study interactive map overlays, artifacts, and photographs to discover which Civil War battles took place in their yards and which took place where their statue of Bruce Lee stands. Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment explores the history of the Apollo Theater’s influence on American entertainment and showcases memorabilia including Michael Jackson's fedora and dresses worn by The Supremes, and the Native Lands: Indians and Georgia display educates modern Georgians on the state’s original residents, the Mississippian Indian tribes. The Atlanta History Center’s historic houses such as Swan House give visitors a glimpse of rural Georgian lifestyle during the 1920s and '30s, and gardens and trails both historic and contemporary soothe minds with lush foliage, leaving visitors as relaxed as a rubber band in a steam room.
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).
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia preserves the Peach State's vibrant creative culture in a showcase featuring more than 600 original works from more than 200 area artistes. As members, art appreciators gain a year of free admission to the museum's expansive permanent collection—an enriching array of paintings, sculptures, embarrassing yearbook pictures, photographs, and digital media dating back to the 1940s—as well as admission to all special exhibitions, which include Georgia-based projects as well as the masterpieces and avant-garde papier-mâché volcanoes culled from international artists. If time spent among the collection makes your inner salmon jump merrily upstream, be sure to capitalize on members-only museum events and take museum memorabilia home from its online store, which offers member discounts.
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.
A celebrated humanitarian whose awards include the Abe Goldstein Humanitarian Award of the Anti-Defamation League, the late Bill Breman had already made countless contributions to his community by 1990. Yet one wish of his had still gone unfulfilled: creating a museum to preserve Atlanta's Jewish history and culture. So Breman donated a generous sum to the Atlanta Jewish Federation, kickstarting a six-year journey that culminated with the opening of The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in 1996.
As its name suggests, the museum's exhibitions focus on the heritage and Holocaust experience of Atlanta's Jewish citizens through arts, history, and identity. Designed by survivor Ben Hirsch, Absence of Humanity: The Holocaust Years, 1933–1945 delves into the events, aftermath, and historical context of the Holocaust through photographs, personal memorabilia, and videotaped interviews with survivors living in Atlanta. In the Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education, visitors can explore the universal themes of human dignity and diversity through the personal stories of Atlanta's Holocaust survivors. The museum is also home to the Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, the largest repository of documents, photographs, artifacts, and oral histories pertaining to Jewish life in Georgia and Alabama. Beyond the mainstay exhibits, special exhibitions feature topics ranging from mah jongg to the artwork of Maurice Sendak. The museum's events are constantly changing and eclectic, encompassing everything from film screenings to group discussions.
When the Center for Puppetry Arts opened its doors in 1978, Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog were on hand to cut the ribbon. Fittingly, one of its first major exhibitions, The Art of the Muppets in 1981, attracted more than 50,000 attendees. Since then, the center has matured into a multifaceted complex equal parts museum, performance center, educational facility, and hub for working artists.