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.
The National Civil War Naval Museum takes modern-day visitors through the little-traveled footsteps of the sailors who fought in the Civil War, telling the story of the country's deadliest war from a naval point of view. Exhibits detail the technology and commerce that soldiers encountered, and provide a human backdrop with stories about soldiers and slaves affected by Civil War navies. Guided tours feature uniformed sailors who interpret the history of everyday life aboard a Civil War vessel or tell the story of a ship that served in the war. For a spookier outing, nighttime tours explore paranormal anomalies and analyze evidence from ghost investigations that happened in the museum.
In 1820, an upwardly mobile carpenter named Isaiah Davenport designed a 6,800-square-foot Federal-style home to live in with his wife, children, and slaves. After his death, Davenport’s wife turned the stately brick house into a boarding house, though it later devolved into a run-down tenement—until the Historic Savannah Foundation saved the landmark when it was threatened with demolition in 1955. The organization’s award-winning preservation, their very first effort, jumpstarted an organized preservation movement that spread across the entire port city.
Today, the Davenport House Museum’s rooms are filled with antique furniture from the 1820s, acquired after careful research relying on estate inventories and detailed artist renderings of long-ago games of musical chairs. These period-accurate tables and chairs join ceramics, textiles, and books to form the museum’s collection of about 500 historical items. Behind the home, where a carriage house, garden, and privy once stood, a garden designed by renowned landscape artist Penelope Hobhouse flourishes. After walking among its flowers, visitors can drop by the museum shop to pick up jams and jellies, books about Savannah, and reproductions of early 19th-century items.
The teachers at FloorSpace Studio had to coin their own term for a fitness class that combines belly dancing, burlesque, theatrical elements, and storytelling?that's how Bellyesque was born. Its creation demonstrates the ways owner Christy Fricks allows instructors to branch out from traditional Eastern dance. Though Christy herself, a second-generation dancer, stays true to those roots by teaching belly-dance classes.
Showcasing hands-on, interactive exhibits, the nonprofit Georgia Children’s Museum sparks an enthusiasm for learning in visitors between the ages of 2 and 12. Youngsters can design a newspaper page in the journalism exhibit, anchor a news broadcast in the TV studio, or curl up with a book in the hushed confines of the reading room. Meanwhile, in the internationally themed Passport to the World exhibit, tykes don authentic kimonos, beat handmade African drums, and discover how Magellan built the blimp that he used to circumnavigate the globe. The Smarty Pants Gift Shop stocks glass pendant necklaces and Magna Morphs toys, whose sets of animal parts can be reassembled into new, imaginary creatures. Above the store, in the Little Learners’ Loft, kids aged 2 to 5 enhance their make-believe skills with age-appropriate toys. Along with its permanent exhibits, Georgia Children’s Museum accommodates kids with events and weekly activities, including craft and story times.
Thronateeska Heritage Center provides an exploration of science and South Georgian history through an interactive science center and history museum, both of which are free to the public, as well as a planetarium. Wetherbee Planetarium’s SciDome hi-def projection system, 40-foot diameter dome, and surround-sound system is the first of its kind in the world, launching reclining stargazers into celestial vistas with a higher definition than the actual night sky. Get sucked into shows, including the Liam Neeson-narrated Black Holes: the Other Side of Infinity, a harrowing journey to the formation of the early universe, the birth and death of stars, and premium-boosting collisions of giant galaxies. Or bring your cosmic dowsing rod to Oasis in Space, a beautiful voyage through the universe on a quest to find liquid water, a key ingredient in the delicious recipe of life. Two more shows focus on the nature of molecules and the history of the telescope.