City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Booth’s Cowboy Festival and Symposium this weekend

This story was supposed to run in Sunday’s print AJC, but is now scheduled to run on Monday. You’ll recognize some of the info from an earlier blog post, but this includes more comments from the museum director and visitors and points out again their big cowboy festival this weekend. Enjoy! — Jamie G.


Marion Blackwell checked out the new portion of the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

After two years of construction, the Booth Western  Art Museum this month opened  a new wing that doubles its gallery space and reorganizes the works on display. Still, its greatest challenge remains the same as the day it opened: explaining why a 120,000-square foot Western art museum exists in Cartersville.

“That’s the biggest question we get, ‘Why?’” executive director Seth Hopkins said.
The Booth opened in 2003 with 80,000 square feet, a small collection of romantic landscapes and scenes and far more contemporary pieces  influenced by or reacting to traditional Western art. The non-profit museum and expansion were paid for with local, anonymous donations, much like the nearby Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum.

Hopkins is well-prepared to defend the Booth: how it explores a westward push that started in the East, even in Georgia; how the collection, rooted in contemporary art, offers new perspectives of the West and personal relationships with living artists; how it educates local and international visitors who may never visit the American West; how fascinations with cowboys haven’t faded, and there are Western art museums throughout the country to prove it.

“It’s an anomaly, but not as big an anomaly as you think,” Hopkins said of the Booth.
And then there’s the latest argument, 40,000-square-feet large and made from Bulgarian limestone. Hopkins expected the museum to grow after 10 or 15 years, but as it drew 40,000 to 50,000 visits per year and space limitations forced more of the collection into storage, museum leaders pushed forward. Admission increased $2 for most visitors when the new wing opened. A children’s area, research library and presidential gallery remain, but there are several new features:

  • The museum reorganized works on display. Historic and more traditional pieces hang on the walls of the original gallery spaces. Most contemporary work moved into the new space, which has fewer walls and higher ceilings better suited larger modern art works.
  • Exhibition space doubled when the museum opened its new wing, but there’s more work that’s new to the museum on the walls of the older space. The museum added more  old masters of Western art, like Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, among others.
  • The added space allows the museum to show more perspectives on the West. The collection includes depictions of cowboys in old landscapes and movie posters, but also features women, African-Americans, American Indians and Chinese . The new space also includes about 200 loaned American-Indian artifacts,  presented more as works of art than as historical objects.
  • The new Civil War art gallery includes new works, traditional and contemporary, and tells the story of war through art. The old Civil War gallery became additional space for temporary exhibitions.
  • A new 250-person banquet area will make the museum available for more outside events.

In the days before the new wing officially opened, floors in every gallery were filled with school children playing games or listening to Western stories. Dozens of volunteers toured of the redesigned galleries. Students from a Cobb County art class visited, some for the first time.

“I had never even thought about Western art, really,” said Laurel McLeod, a first-time visitor from Marietta. “It never dawned on me that someone would do it in Cartersville. I thought it was amazing.”

The museum was busy again Oct. 22-25  with its annual Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium, which includes concerts, artists presentations, gallery tours and children’s activities.

Atlanta Artist Dee Venzer expected to make the drive to Cartersville several times during the festival, and again in the next few weeks to tour the new galleries with friends.

She recalls sending her portfolio a few years ago to what she thought was “some podunk museum” north of Atlanta.

“Then I drove up and thought, ‘Oh, jeez ,’” she said. “When they asked if I’d show downstairs, by the children’s area, I said I’d be glad to show in the bathroom of this marvelous museum.”

Since then,  some of her paintings have become part of the permanent collection. She said she’s brought skeptical friends and family to visit, only to drag them out hours later.

“It’s so well thought-out, so beautifully displayed,” Venzer gushes. “Every time I go up there, I learn something new. It’s 30 minutes away, and people don’t know about it.”

Want to go? Booth Western Art Museum, 501 Museum Dr., Cartersville. $10 for adults, $8 for people ages 65 and older, $7 for students, free for members, children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult, active military. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. 770-387-1300,

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19 comments Add your comment

Dave Johnson

October 27th, 2009
2:36 pm

Nice article on a great museum! We go to the Booth quite often, they always have great exhibits and lectures on interesting topics. Too bad the article didn’t make in Sundays edition, and the picture was in black and white – people will just have to go see for themselves.

Jamie Gumbrecht

October 27th, 2009
3:09 pm

Ugh, I know! We planned for this to run Sunday, and then the section was too tight for it to fit. Thanks, though! I hope this one will have a long life online to let people know what’s going on.

Fred Everett

October 27th, 2009
3:13 pm

Thanks for the Monday article. My wife and I have been to the Booth Museum on a prior occasion and were most impressed as we did not expect to see a museum of that quality in Cartersville ! We will make it a point to find our way back to see their expanded space and collection.

Elizabeth Gentry

October 27th, 2009
4:04 pm

I know that this is the GREATEST PLACE to work in the World. Thanks for mentioning the research library. Many have come in to do their research and I do hope for many more.

Pam Hilley

October 28th, 2009
10:00 am

I like the new changes in the museum. The new wing was very nicely done.
The family really enjoyed this weekends activities and getting to see all the changes at the BOOTH.The best part of all is that it’s located in Cartersville!


October 28th, 2009
11:29 am

I love this museum! They have such great exhibits and activities!! The Symposium was wonderful!!!

Pat Stephenson

October 28th, 2009
1:45 pm

The museum is a jewel hidden right in the middle of Cartersville. As a volunteer who helps out now and then, the staff is wonderful. I promise that your visit there will be memorable.

Mr Fnortner

October 28th, 2009
2:13 pm

This is a fine art museum, with a bit of whimsy here and there. Please don’t think it’s all movie posters. The museum is crowed with fabulous sculpture, and wall after wall holds some of the most beautiful paintings you would want to see. It will hold you spellbound, and kids love it too.

Lucile Ussery

October 28th, 2009
2:32 pm

I have only lived in Cartersville for a short time, but I have become fascinated with the Booth museum. It is a wonderful addition to the city of Cartersville, waking up in me a new appreciation of the history of our country as it moved west.

Sharon McGahee

October 28th, 2009
3:25 pm

We here in Cartersville are so blessed to have the Booth and the Tellus Science Museum. The art at the Booth is inspiring and in many cases of great historical value. Cartersville is a great community and the Symposium will only get better. My husband wants Ramblin Jack Elliot to come next year.

Ron Cagle

October 28th, 2009
3:50 pm

Thanks to the AJC for letting the world have a glimpse of a great thing in an “unexpected” place. My wife and I have visited many art museums around the country, with a special interest in Western art. The Booth Museum is on par with the best of them – a real testament to the excellent work being done by Seth Hopkins and his staff and the generosity of the benefactors. This place is a very real (if not yet widely known) treasure for the whole State of Georgia, and it should be viewed that way by those who are surprised to find it in Cartersville.

Bill Hebert

October 28th, 2009
6:40 pm

When I went to volunteer, I never thought that I would become a Docent. Guiding school children as well as adults throught this Museum is indeed one of the highlights of my life, and I am 76 years of age, so I have been fortunate to have quite a few, but none this rewarding.


October 28th, 2009
7:18 pm

Thanks for your article on the Booth museum! It’s one of the best kept secrets in Cartersville. We moved to NW Georgia 2 yrs ago, and I became a docent last year and absolutely love it. The folks who work there are wonderful–they’re so friendly and helfpul. They do everything with excellence. I’m retired military, and being a docent is one of the best things I’ve done since moving here–it’s a great way to meet new people and have fun. Believe their new training class starts in Nov–highly recommend checking it out!

Muriel Malcolm Pittaluga

October 29th, 2009
8:25 pm

Anyone looking for excellence in the art and history of the American West should visit the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. In addition to beautiful art housed in an easily accessible, well-designed building, the museum offers educational tours for children and daily highlight tours for adults.


October 29th, 2009
9:24 pm

The Booth is a never-ending source of fun and information on art, the “Old West”, and the history of discovery. Not to be missed!

Donald Moschetti

October 30th, 2009
10:01 am

Great Booth Article. The Museum is a treasure for anyone to have and Cartersville is very lucky to have it located there. Their many programs help a lot of people and kids to appreciate art.

Lynn H.

October 30th, 2009
4:58 pm

Nice coverage of activities at the Booth; glad to see that the AJC realizes the ‘importance’ of that museum and all it has to offer the Southeast. We love the West and find that the museum brings a sampling of the West to the South! World class museum with lectures by visiting Western artists. Thank goodness the museum is only 40 minutes from Buckhead. Thanks for helping us schedule the various events they produce!


October 31st, 2009
2:37 pm

I highly Encourage people to come see the Booth! It’s very well organized.The people that work there are extremly nice.The 20,000 Square foot expansion is unbelievable.It’s a wonderful family oriented place to visit!!! It’s fun for all ages,come check it out!!!

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