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Exhibitions love Atlanta: Titanic, Cavalia, Diana, what next?


“Bodies...The Exhibition" had 400,000 visitors at the Atlanta Civic Center in 2006 and later returned to the Premier Exhibition Center in Atlantic Station. Atlanta can't seem to get enough exhibitions. AJC file photo

Reading this story felt like a newsy depiction of my Google calendar: “Atlanta a fast-rising star in world of major exhibitions.”

For months now, I’ve been bouncing from arena to museum to warehouse to stage to see artifacts from the Titanic, the key that locked Martin Luther King Jr. in a Birmingham jail cell, life-size dinosaurs that eat and roar, acrobats on horses, the work of Leonardo da Vinci, plastinated bodies, golden jewelry, Sesame Street puppets, Grand Canyon images, Henry Moore sculptures, Princess Diana’s wedding dress and the innards of a tornado.


Princess Diana's wedding dress is on display at the Atlanta Civic Center through June 13. AJC/Vino Wong

It seems obvious to me that the number and caliber of exhibitions around Atlanta is picking up, and I have to believe it’s because people are showing up to see them. Maybe it’s the recession and we’re drawing more visitors from nearby. Maybe it’s great material, or just great marketing.

Whatever it is, there are more than enough to pack my schedule, so I wasn’t surprised at all to read in AJCer Nedra Rhone’s story that the people who make exhibition schedules are getting more excited about our city, too:

In the past four years, a number of companies have discovered Atlanta’s viability as a location for major shows and exhibitions. Industry insiders say the presence of large venues, reasonable marketing costs and enthusiastic patrons hungry for a variety of cultural offerings make the city ripe for blockbuster exhibitions.

Of course, this story focuses on touring exhibitions and performances, but I think other types of venues are riding this wave, too.

High-profile destinations like the High Museum of Art, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the Georgia Aquarium have all brought in big-deal exhibitions. Newer museums, like the Booth Western Art Museum and Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Center in Cartersville are getting their names out there. I’ve even been impressed by the objects and ideas libraries are putting on display, like the Alice Walker archives that were on display at Emory University, or Atlanta’s Central Library easy fit into the Museum of Design Atlanta’s Marcel Breuer exhibition.

Just last night I got an e-mail from an old acquaintance who mentioned she’s visiting Atlanta from Kentucky and looking forward to the Princess Diana exhibition at the Civic Center. (That exhibition drew 10,000 visitors in 10 days.) It’s all I can do not to give her 10 more suggestions.

Have you traveled to Atlanta or made a special trip into the city for a special exhibition or show? Do your out-of-town visitors ask to see certain attractions or special events? How does all this affect your perception of Atlanta as a place to have fun? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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One comment Add your comment

BBQ and Booger Stew

February 11th, 2010
10:00 am

Its Freddy Kruger!!