Atlanta has a vibrant arts and culture community, and although not much of the city’s history is still visible when looking at the skyline, small pockets of the city still hold a tremendous portion of Atlanta’s past.
These 10 Atlanta museums offer a peek into the history and culture of Atlanta, be it related to technology, trains, or the tragedies that have befallen the city. If you feel like you’ve seen it all in Atlanta, these museums might offer a brand new perspective:
Location: 1315 Peachtree St. NE Atlanta
Cost: Free to $10, depending on age
The Museum of Design Atlanta explores the world of design and how design permeates the many facets of everyday life. With exhibits related to everything from typography and graphic design to using design to create a future where sustainable food production is the way of life, the museum hosts design-related exhibits for every interest. Additionally, a multitude of programs are available throughout the year, such as Lego + Local Brew, 3D printing classes and more.
Location: 587 University Place NW Atlanta
Cost: $7 to $10
This historic house once belonged to Alonso Herndon, a man who was born a slave, but after being freed worked to build one of the “most successful black-owned insurance businesses in the nation,” according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. The home was built nearly exclusively by African-American craftsmen, according to the museum website, and serves as a historic landmark which offers tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The home is a picturesque symbol of early 1900s architecture, and it tells the story of the Herndon family.
Location: 1060 Delta Blvd., B-914, Atlanta
Cost: Museum admission ranges from free to $15, depending on age. Flight simulator tickets cost $425.
Atlanta’s Delta Flight Museum offers an up-close look at Delta’s history of aviation as far back as the 1920s, when Delta Air Lines was first founded. The museum recently opened up a new exhibit: the “747 Experience,” where guests can explore the first Boeing 747-400 ever built. Additionally, the museum has the only remaining Waco 125 Biplane and a restored 1940 Douglas DC-3, according to the museum website. Additionally, the museum offers the only Boeing 737 flight simulator open to the public in the United States, which is open by appointment.
Location: 500 10th Street NW Atlanta
This museum at Georgia Tech hosts more than 10,000 papermaking supplies from throughout the history of the craft, including watermarks, papers, tools and machines, according to the museum website. Guests can trace the history of papermaking in the museum’s permanent exhibit, learn about the relationship between the environment and the paper industry, or even learn how to make paper themselves at the museum. The museum offers workshops for all age groups and interests, such as creating art with paper or creating stencils with a press.
Location: 1600 Clifton Road NE Atlanta
This free, Smithsonian-affiliated museum is filled with information about health, disease and the Centers for Disease Control. Exhibitions include the Story of CDC, which allows guests to follow through documents, photographs and objects which tell the story of CDC, the Global Symphony, a multimedia installation spanning 100 feet that tells four health-related tells, and more. Additionally, the museum offers the CDC Museum Disease Detective Camp, where children can learn how scientists use state-of-the-art technology to solve disease-related mysteries, according to the museum website.
Location: Parkside Shopping Center, 5920 Roswell Road NE, #209, Sandy Springs
This museum in Sandy Springs revolves around the history of Anne Frank, whose diary detailing her life hiding from Nazis in Amsterdam during the Holocaust has been published in more than 80 languages, according to the museum website. The exhibit features more than 500 photographs which are used to tell Frank’s story, along with a short video and a number of supplementary exhibits, including a replica of her room, a sculpture series and temporary exhibits on loan from other museums. Entry to the museum is free, but the museum recommends the exhibit only for guests over the age of 5, as the museum revolves around themes which can be graphic, complex and disturbing.
Location: 2719 East College Ave. Decatur
The very first Waffle House was built in Avondale Estates, and today that same building is standing as a monument to the company’s history. The building has been restored to its original 1955 appearance, and while you won’t be able to order anything, the dining room will be a trip to the past, filled with memorabilia that can be more than 60 years old.
Location: 2829 Cherokee St. NW Kennesaw
Cost: Free to $7.50, depending on age
The Southern Museum in Kennesaw is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum that takes guests back to the history of the Civil War and the history of locomotives, including housing the actual “General,” the train that was made famous in the “Great Locomotive Chase.” The museum features a number of permanent exhibits about trains and the Civil War, as well as an educational facility with classrooms and play areas for children.
Location: 135 Auburn Ave. NE Atlanta
Cost: $5 to $7, depending on age or military status
The APEX Museum on Auburn Avenue is dedicated to telling the story of people of African descent, according to the museum website. The museum offers exhibits related to Africa and people of African descent, including an exhibit on the culture of Africa, a reconstruction of the Gate City Drug Store where the first black registered pharmacist worked, and an exhibit on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Additionally, the museum hosts a storyteller-in-residence, who offers programs for all ages.
Location: 18 Whitlock Ave. NW Marietta
Cost: $5 to $7.
“Gone with the Wind” has earned more than $180 million in film sales since its 1939 release, according to Box Office Mojo, and the book upon which the film was based has sold countless copies. While the film wasn’t filmed in the real Atlanta, much of the film’s memorabilia can now be viewed at the Gone with the Wind Museum on the Marietta Square. Inside the museum, guests can view costumes from the film, several copies of the book owned my Margaret Mitchell herself, and other pieces of the history of “Gone with the Wind.”
See below for an interactive map of these 10 Atlanta museums: