Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I Never Knew There Was So Much In It!

They say that good things come in little parcels. That certainly is true for a book that came in the mail back in September. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to write a blog entry about it since it arrived, and now I guess is the time.

Museums of Atlanta: A Guide for Residents and Visitors (Westholme Publishing, 2006) details a surprising 68 museums located in Metro Atlanta. Written by Scott W. Hawley and Kevin L. Crowe, this pocket-sized book lists complete contact information, hours of operation and admission charges, and even has a listing of museums by type.

Listed in the Appendix are the Ten Museums for Children, for Teenagers, for Art and Architecture, for the Civil War, and for Science and Technology, to name just a few.

The Top Ten “Essential” Museums listed will come as no surprise: The High, Atlanta Cyclorama, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the Margaret Mitchell House etc. Some of the lesser known places, however, are in some ways more fascinating than the “big boys.”

For example, the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is the only institution in the U.S. to specialize in works “by and about women of the African diaspora.” The museum traces its origins back to 1899.

Georgia Tech is home to a very unusual museum that sounds absolutely fascinating. The Robert C. Williams American Museum of Papermaking is located in Tech’s Institute of Paper Science and Technology.

Invented in AD 105 by a Chinese government official, paper is one of the most basic elements in our daily lives. The museum documents the origins and global spread of paper from China to Korea, Japan and on to Europe, and also focuses on the history of the first paper mill in Georgia built at Scull Shoals on the Oconee River by Zachariah Sims in 1811.

The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) in Downtown is “one of only a handful of museums in the United States dedicated exclusively to design.” An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, MODA’s mission is to “explore the impact of design on our daily lives.”

Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum was founded in 1920. Filled with works of art from Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East and Pre-Columbian America, the museum houses the largest collection of ancient art in the Southeast. The Carlos also holds collections of sub-Saharan African art and European and American woodcuttings and sketches.

For Civil War enthusiasts there’s the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, the Southern Museum of the Civil War & Locomotive History and the Marietta Museum of History.
If you prefer your Civil War fictionalized there are three museums devoted to Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in Midtown, the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square, and the Road to Tara Museum in Jonesboro.

Authors Scott Hawley and Kevin Crow have produced an invaluable resource for residents and travelers alike, and this little book (140 pp) should do wonders for Atlanta’s cultural tourism.

When I was growing up in Britain, one of the magazines that could regularly be found in our house was the TV Times, the British equivalent of TV Guide if you like. I remember one of the magazine’s ad campaigns on TV that included the slogan “I never knew there was so much in it!”

The same can be said both for Hawley and Crow’s Museums of Atlanta, and indeed for Atlanta itself.

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