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Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

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 …

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‘Curious George’ exhibit continues at Children’s Museum


"Curious George: Let's Get Curious!" is on at Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta through Jan. 24. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

I was in the lobby of Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta yesterday when a mom and child about age 2 walked through the door. The little one was quiet…quiet…quiet…”Mommy, a MONKEY!”

Not just any monkey — Curious George. And every kid there wanted to see him.


Imagine International Academy of Smyrna kindergartner Timothy Lee checks out the simple machines.

I remember that monkey from my childhood, just like my parents remember him from their childhoods. He’s been around more than 65 years. He comes in a snazzy PBS cartoon now, and ideas about the word curious has changed from troublemaking to learning. And still, there’s George.

The exhibit, designed by Minnesota Children’s Museum, takes kids through places in the curious little monkey’s life to teach science concepts from measurement to power to simple machines. Starstruck though …

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Does downtown Atlanta need a pirate museum?


Pssh, we've got plenty of pirates downtown…during Dragon*Con. AJC file photo

I can’t answer that question. I couldn’t have explained to you why Atlanta became the site for the world’s largest fishtank, or why it would be a puppetry nucleus, but it is, and that’s that. When we heard the news that a pirate museum might move in near Centennial Olympic Park, my response was, “Wow.” Then, “Of course.”

Because, well, of course. Why am I surprised? We’re already working on museums for everything else.

Centennial Olympic Park seems like the trendiest spot for a museum around here. It’s already surrounded by the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, the National Museum of Patriotism, CNN Center and Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. There are plans to put the national health museum, the College Football Hall of Fame and the Center for Civil and Human Rights nearby.

A pirate museum could be fun, but offhand, I’m not seeing the Atlanta ties.

When I searched the AJC …

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‘Ghastly Dreadfuls’: What makes an adult puppet show?


The non-puppet stars of "The Ghastly Dreadfuls II" at The Center for Puppetry Arts. Photo by Clay Walker.

When I explained to pals and far-away family that I was going to an adult puppet show on Thursday night, I got a skeptical, slightly nervous, “So…what is that?”

I didn’t have much of an answer, just two tickets to opening night of “The Ghastly Dreadfuls II: Handbook of Practical Hauntings and Other Phantasmagoria,” at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

This is an updated version of the Halloween favorite, told through live music, dancing and short puppet stories in a variety of styles. The show is more spooky than scary, more macabre than evil. One story, “The 11:59″ is kind of a sweet tale that’s actually adapted from a wonderful children’s book, “The Dark Thirty.” A dance recollected from a cat character’s memory would be completely child-friendly, but is no less hilarious for adults, especially cat owners.

But “Dinosaurs” or “The Shoemaker and the Elves” it is not.

Here’s …

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PHOTOS: High’s John Portman retrospective to open Oct. 17

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Atlanta architect John Portman discussed his work with Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and his son, Jarel, at the High Museum of Art this week. AJC/Phil Skinner

It’s a busy time at the High Museum of Art. It just opened its Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, and this weekend, it opens “John Portman: Art and Architecture,” a three-floor show of the Atlanta architect’s buildings and art works. (Here’s an interview with Portman, and more photos from the exhibit.)


A model of Portman's Atlanta home, Entelechy I. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

It’s the first retrospectives art and architecture by Portman, an Atlanta native whose buildings define most of the city’s skyline. His list of local works spans from the 1960s to the 1990s: the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel, Peachtree Center, the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel, Atlanta Marriott Marquis and SunTrust Plaza, among others. Design elements we saw first here show up throughout later designs in the United States and around the world.

But the exhibit is …

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Fernbank adds exhibit hours, movies for Martinis & IMAX

Fernbank Museum of Natural History has officially extended the Friday viewing hours for its ‘Gold’ exhibit to open it up to Martinis & IMAX visitors through Nov. 27.

The exhibit was to close at 5 p.m., before the Friday night martini-and-movie set arrived. The new hours keep the special exhibition open from 5:30-10 p.m. Fridays through November. During those hours, exhibit admission is free with a Martinis & IMAX ticket, or $7 without a movie ticket. Here’s a preview of the ‘Gold’ exhibit.

The Friday night film schedule has been tweaked, too, to fill the theater with films they’re calling “Golden Oldies.” These films will be shown in the IMAX theater, but won’t be in IMAX format, and cost only $7, a discount from the regular Martinis & IMAX admission:

10 p.m. Oct. 16: “Austin Powers in Goldmember”
10 p.m. Oct. 23: “Goldfinger”
8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Oct. 30: “Beetlejuice,” for Fright Night
10 p.m. Nov. 6: “The Goonies,” for Pirate Night
10 p.m. Nov. 27: “Saturday Night Fever,” for …

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New Booth Western Art Museum addition opens Oct. 10

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The new gallery space at Booth Western Art Museum is more open, giving each glance more to explore. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville will open a 40,000-square foot expansion on Saturday, one that doubles exhibition space and reorganizes much the art already on the walls. (Look here for more photos from the museum.)

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Photo courtesy the Booth Western Art Museum

It’s a remarkable change for a relatively new museum, especially one outside a major city and on the far reaches of a metro area. The Booth opened in 2003 with 80,000 square feet filled with Western art – older romantic landscapes and scenes, but even more contemporary pieces influenced by or reacting to more traditional Western styles. The new wing brings more collection pieces out from the basement, opens more temporary exhibition space and adds new amenities like a 250-person banquet area.

The new wing also comes with a new price — admission fees are going up about $2.

Executive …

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Registration open for StoryCorps interviews in Atlanta


Aaron Smith got ready to interview his father David Smith, right, in the StoryCorps mobile trailer at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site in 2006. Another StoryCorps booth will open in Atlanta this month.

Atlanta’s public radio station announced in an e-mail yesterday that StoryCorps Atlanta will open Oct. 22. The public oral history project has become more and more mobile — it stopped in Atlanta a few year ago — but this booth will be at WABE’s studio for at least one year, with a goal of collecting 750 interviews. Registration for interviews is open now.

Months ago, I heard of a tentative plan to to install a permanent booth at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Sacha Evans with StoryCorps said those plans haven’t been established. (WABE said nobody was available to talk about it before Tuesday and I left a message for the Center for Civil and Human Rights.) For now, the StoryCorps booth will live  at 740 Bismark Road in Atlanta.

“We’d love to continue to …

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PHOTOS: Solar house at Tellus museum in Cartersville

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The Georgia Tech-built solar house goes on display at Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum in Cartersville this weekend. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

For months, the tiny black-and-white building surrounded by solar panels at Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum has gotten a lot of curious stares. It’s in clear view as people walk into the museum, but easy to forget when there are dinosaurs and geodes in front of you.

During Tellus’ Solarbration event this weekend, that little house will start to get the attention it deserves. It’s the Solar Decathlon House built by Georgia Tech students for the 2007 competition and it’ll open its doors to visitors who want to see what it means to live off the grid.

Check out more photos of the solar home, too!

The museum already has solar panels large enough to produce energy for the planetarium and then some.  The 650-square-foot house is nestled among them. It runs itself with 27 solar panels on the roof, 16 batteries, water storage tanks and …

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First look at Aquarium’s new “Planet Shark” exhibit

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Curator Craig Thorburn works on a display of a frozen mako shark and bluefin tune in "Planet Shark: Predator or Prey" at Georgia Aquarium. AJC/Phil Skinner

The world’s largest fish tank will soon offer visitors the world’s first look at a new exhibit, “Planet Shark: Predator or Prey.”

The new Georgia Aquarium exhibit opens Oct. 3, but we got the first look at it this week. (As always, I enjoy an up-close view of shark teeth and Shop-Vacs.)

It was developed in Australia and  moved into the Aquarium’s 10,000 square foot exhibition space, where its first views include intimidatingly large shark models, a row of shark jaws, piles of shark teeth — and the message that sharks ought to be more afraid of humans than we are of them.

“Planet Shark” curators Craig Thorburn and Mike Bhana dedicated an entire gallery to fishing practices and consumer products that lead to the deaths of about 100 million sharks every year, according to Oceana, an ocean conservation organization.

“Sharks can …

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