After traveling across six continents over the course of 130 days, the official torch of the 2008 Beijing Games recently completed its “Journey of Harmony” at the Centennial Olympic Games Museum at the Atlanta History Center. Arriving in time for the 2008 Olympic Games, the torch has been on public display at the museum since July 17 and will remain part of the museum’s permanent collection. The Centennial Olympic Games Museum is the only museum in the United States to present a complete collection of the Olympic Summer Games torches.

The torch embarked on its journey from Greece on Mar. 24 with the catchphrase “Light the Passion, Share the Dream.” On its passage, it followed key points of the ancient Silk Road. The 85,000-mile journey of the Beijing Olympic Torch marks the longest distance of any previous torch relay.

The torch boasts many distinct features. Designed by the Lenovo Creative Centre and China Aerospace Science and Industry Group, it is made of aluminum and stands 72 centimeters high, weighing 985 grams. Its flame is able to remain lit in light rains and in winds traveling 65 kilometers per hour. On a windless day, the flame stands 25 to 30 centimeters high. Additionally, the torch is in accordance with a Green Olympics by using propane, a clean-burning and nontoxic energy fuel.

The torch also features various aesthetic and cultural elements. It is shaped like an ancient Chinese paper scroll and includes representations of the “Lucky Cloud,” a popular element of Chinese mythology that often portrays deities. The red and silver coloration of the torch represents the union of ancient China and the modern world.

The exhibition at the Centennial Olympic Games Museum expansively portrays the Olympics by offering artifacts, images, interactive displays and an entire second story devoted to an interactive Sports Lab, where visitors can compare their strength and skills to the world’s most famous athletes. The museum, which provides a strong spotlight on the 1996 Olympic Games, is divided into eight sections that present information about the origin of the Olympic Games, the modern Games, the Centennial Olympic Games and more.

The Atlanta History Center is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., NW. Its hours of operation from Monday through Saturday are 10 AM to 5:30 PM and from noon until 5:30 PM on Sunday. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for students 18 years and older and seniors 65 years and older, $10 for youths 4-17 and free for children 3 and under. More information can be obtained by calling (404) 814-4000 or visiting www.AtlantaHistoryCenter.com.

– Michaela Kron