Walking through the “Gold” exhibition at Fernbank Museum of Natural History, it’s easy to see why this element has been a part of so many cultures histories for so long: it’s incredibly shiny.
It’s also practical in its many uses, relatively easy to manipulate for those uses and although it’s treated as something rare, it has been found on every continent other than Antarctica. (It may be there, too, but the ice tends to get in the way.) Still, the new exhibit from the American Museum of Natural History reveals that its lustre has entranced people for all ages and places. (Just as fascinating are the few cultures who weren’t all that excited about it, finding more value in jade, for instance.)
Gallery after gallery touches on its chemical, mining, decorative, cultural and economic histories and characteristics, but does less to address current mining practices or economic standards involving gold. There’s a lot of text, not much to keep your hands busy, but enough visual candy to keep you moving.
A few highlights:
See it: Rockhounds, lovers of jewelry, chemistry or local history buffs.
Skip it: Museumgoers who need a hands-on experience, anybody looking for great social commentary on gold mining or war over gold, those who prefer silver.
Want to go? “Gold” runs through Jan. 3, 2010 at Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road, N.E., Atlanta. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. $13-15, free for children ages 2 and younger and members. 404-929-6300, www.fernbankmuseum.org.