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.
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.
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, and hub for working artists.
Tell us about your museum.
The APEX offers a unique look at history from an African-American perspective. We do not begin our story with slavery, but rather with Africa and its rich splendor and glory. It is important to know that from this rich continent came medicine, math, architecture, science, and much more.
What are some of your unique exhibits that stand out from other museums?
The APEX has recreated scenes from Atlanta's Sweet Auburn, which Fortune Magazine in 1957 called "the richest Negro street in the world." Here you can see a replica of the Yates & Milton drug store, [which was] famous as a gathering place. You can also board the replica of a vintage trolley and watch a video called The Journey, narrated by Ossie Davis, and Sweet Auburn Street of Pride, narrated by Cicely Tyson.
Why is Black History Month important to you?
While Black History Month is important because it brings attention to a very important segment of our community, our theme here at the APEX is, "where every month is Black History Month."
What does being a black business owner mean to you?
Black business ownership is important because it symbolizes the strength and tenacity of a people who have endured hardships and emerged undaunted.
Where do you hope to see your museum and community in the next five years?
The APEX plans to build on its adjoining lot, a 90,000 square-foot facility with a complete "walk-through" [of] history in EPCOT Center fashion.
Why did you decide to work with Groupon again?
I have been so amazed and impressed with the results we have received from our association with Groupon. I did not know what to expect, but have been very pleased with having more than 2400 responses in only six months.
Anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The APEX...was founded in 1978 by a veteran filmmaker from Philadelphia, Dan Moore, Sr. It was inspired by the life of Morehouse President, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, and remains a source of information and inspiration.
Shopping for groceries might sound like a chore, but it's actually one of the many fun, hands-on activities available at The Children's Museum of Atlanta. In the Fundamentally Food exhibit, kids can whip up tasty pretend meals in a playhouse kitchen and load fruits and veggies onto a delivery truck. Fundamentally Food is among the Children's Museum's year-round exhibits, whose interactive stations are geared toward children up to 8 years old. Children can mold sculptures from moon sand, create original paintings on the giant paint wall, or don raincoats before fishing in the stream of the Museum's magical forest.
The Children's Museum's troupe of professional actors and educators known as the Imaginators?considered "experts on entertaining children" by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution?specialize in performing original 20-minute musicals. Their other programs include Imaginator-led story-time, crafts, dancing, interactive music programming, and cooking activities based on Georgia produce. The Children's Museum also offers private birthday parties, summer camps, and family memberships.
Gory, brutal, and open only to adults, Chambers of Horror takes scaring to the extreme—so much so that HauntedAttraction.com made it #13 on its list of 25 Must See Haunts in 2010. A staff of mutilation professionals and special effects experts eschew childish zombies and goblins in favor of actual monsters: psychopathic doctors, lawyers, and congressmen willing to do unspeakable things to win your shrieked support on election day. Inside the torture chamber, grisly scenes and relentless assailants force visitors to grope through room after torment-riddled room, where they'll encounter horrors orchestrated by the insidious Herr Scudder, Lord Faust, and Lil Dahlia, the dismemberment queen.
Those in need of a little liquid courage before entering the darkness can swing by the open-air Splatter Bar and Lounge. Guests who become too scared to brave the chamber can also opt to stay at the bar, where horror movies, independent musicians, and sideshow performers drown out the faraway sound of a friend's terrified protestations that he is not really afraid.