Georgia Museums and Galleries
High Museum of Art
280 Peachtree St., Midtown
A visit to the High Museum is as much an architectural pilgrimage as an artistic one—though the museum was originally housed in a mansion that belonged to the High family, a grant from Coca-Cola in the late '70s made possible a major expansion into a brand-new, Richard-Meier-designed building to house the growing collection. More recently, a 2002 addition by Renzo Piano more than doubled the size of the building. There are more than 15,000 works in the permanent collection, spanning American, European, African, and folk art—a selection of the best, plus several significant works of outdoor public art, are always on display and the museum puts on traveling special exhibitions year-round as a supplement.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights
100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Downtown
Alongside some of the city’s biggest attractions (the World of Coca-Cola museum, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Inside CNN tour), comes one of the city’s newest: The $68 million, 42,000-square-foot Center for Civil and Human Rights, which tells the story of the Civil Rights Moment in Dr. King’s hometown and opened its doors in 2014. Here, a rotating selection of King’s personal artifacts and manuscripts are on display on loan from the Morehouse College. Currently on view: #1960, a collection of photographs from fine art photographer Sheila Pree Bright, who captures imagery across Atlanta, Baltimore, Ferguson and DC, bringing attention to policing in the African American community.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
767 Clifton Rd., Druid Hills
This place is heaven for science buffs both big and small. It’s worth spending time in the permanent, “Giants of the Mesozoic” exhibit, which features fossil casts of the world’s largest meat-eating and plant-eating dinosaurs, including a 123-foot-long Argentinosaurus (the largest known dinosaur). There’s also an IMAX movie theater, and Fernbank Forest, a 65-acre woodland preserve which is home to some 400 species of plants and wildlife.
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
441 Freedom Pkwy., Poncey-Highland
There’s a reason presidential libraries are a boon to academics and historians—they’re a veritable archival wonderland. The Carter Library and Museum is no exception, but also engages the broader public in an accessible way. In addition to permanent displays of photos and memorabilia from the Carter presidency and an exact replica of the Oval Office, through October 2017, you can check out an exhibition which explores efforts to eradicate and control disease throughout history (a nod to the Carter-Center campaign to eliminate Guinea worm). Plus, they have incredible programming—a lecture from Michael Erik Dyson and a talk with Trayvon Martin’s parents are just two examples this upcoming month.
207 W. York St., Historic District
One of the oldest public art museums in the U.S., Telfair opened in the 1880s in a renovated family mansion, and has since expanded into three separate buildings, which includes a 4,000-piece permanent art collection, a mix of 18th-21st century pieces from America and Europe. The draw for kids, though, is really ArtZeum, which is located in Telfair’s Jepson Center. ArtZeum is home to a couple dozen activities that allow kids to explore art in a really hands-on way. For instance, there’s a glass house created by artist Therman Statom that kids can wander through, a magnetic sculpture wall, architectural blocks that kids can use to make their own buildings, and 3D shapes to mold. Perfect for a morning or afternoon activity.
National Museum of the Mighty 8th Air Force
175 Bourne Ave., Pooler
A twenty-five-minute drive outside of Savannah, in Pooler, Georgia, this museum sits where the Eighth Air Force was activated in 1942. It’s a trove of aviation and WWII history, with rotating exhibits and interactive displays. Mission experiences are recreated, offering a glimpse into what it would have been like to fly on a bomber; and kids can also take a peek at original air crafts and engines.