Sandi and I concur: Atlanta has some awesome museums. Growing up in Atlanta, I have loved visiting museums since I was in elementary school and over the years my appreciation for my hometown’s museums has grown exponentially. Here are some of the ones I always recommend to visitors.
World of Coca-Cola
Atlanta‘s World of Coca-Cola features exhibits chronicling the history of Coca-Cola, arguably the most famous (and successful) beverage company in the world. The bottling process is impressive to watch and the nostalgia of the famous marketing campaigns is just plain fun. The “Tasting Room” is the last stop on the tour before the gift shop. Visitors are afforded the opportunity to sample a wide variety of Coca-Cola products sold around the globe. If you overindulge in free samples as I tend to do, make sure to hit the restroom before you head out into Atlanta traffic.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site
Atlanta is proud of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. The site includes a visitor’s center with a museum chronicling the civil rights movement; Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King and his father pastored; King’s birth home; the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change; and his grave site. This is a free attraction and is a very moving experience.
The Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum
The Atlanta Cyclorama depicts the Battle of Atlanta, and is an absolute must for Civil War buffs. At 42-feet tall and 358-feet in circumference, the cyclorama is considered to be the world’s largest painting. The exhibit has been in operation since 1898, making it one of the country’s longest running shows. The building also houses two floors of artifacts from the Civil War.
Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind fans will find plenty to love in Atlanta. The Margaret Mitchell House, where the Pulitzer-Prize winning author wrote her famous novel, features exhibits chronicling her life.
Located just minutes south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Jonesboro, you’ll find the Road to Tara Museum, the Stately Oakes Plantation, and several homes that inspired Mitchell’s description of Tara. Clayton County, Georgia is known as the “Official Home of Gone with the Wind.”
The Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum is located a few minutes north of Atlanta in the town of Marietta. Visitors are treated to stories of Atlanta during the Civil War by costumed actors playing Rhett and Scarlett.
Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center has a number of signature exhibits, including one of the largest collections of Civil War memorabilia in the United States; a tribute to Atlanta born golf legend, Bobby Jones; a Centennial Olympic Games Museum; and the beautiful, historic Swan House.
Viewfinder Tip: Traffic in Atlanta can be brutal, so (if possible) visit museums in the late morning to avoid the crush.
Center for Puppetry Arts
As the first puppetry center in the United States, the Center for Puppetry Arts exhibits more than 350 puppets from around the world and offers hands-on workshops and a variety of ongoing shows for children and adults. The center currently has a collection on loan from the family of Jim Henson (of “The Muppets” fame).
High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States, and ranks among the top 100 art museums worldwide. The museum has an impressive permanent collection, but I love the themed rotating exhibits that allow me to see art that I might otherwise miss. Check their website to see what’s on display when you visit.
What are your favorite attractions in your hometown?