It’s hot, the kids are bouncing off the walls and you suddenly can’t remember the name of the union commander in the Battle of Atlanta. What to do? Try a local museum.
They’re scattered all around and offer answers to questions as various as “Who were the early settlers of Sandy Springs?” to “Why does Oglethorpe University have a building named for William Randolph Hearst’s mom?” to “What does $1 million in cash look like?” (It’s smaller than you might think.)
There are a half dozen museums located right around here. Most don’t have big names, like the High Museum, the Atlanta art museum that at times fills its galleries with rarely seen goodies from the Louvre in Paris. But these smaller, local museums offer diverting displays. And they provide places to escape the summer heat and maybe learn something while you’re at it.
Anne Frank in the World
More than 600 photographs and 8,000 words tell the story of Anne Frank and her family leading up to and during World War II. Assembled by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, and displayed in a Sandy Springs shopping center, “Anne Frank In The World: 1929-1945” covers the years the Franks spent hiding in a secret annex in Amsterdam before Anne’s death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Anne’s diary of her family’s years in hiding, published posthumously, became one of the most widely read books in the world.
Location: Parkside Shopping Center, 5920 Roswell Road, Suite A 209.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Closed Monday.
For more information: 770-206-1558.
Atlanta History Center
Located among 33 acres in the center of Buckhead, the history center is a place to learn about Atlanta’s role in the Civil War, to find exhibits of folk art and memorabilia from the 1996 Olympics and tour historic houses. This summer, special exhibits probe Atlanta’s favorite book (“Gone With The Wind,” of course) and Atlanta magazine.
Location: 130 W. Paces Ferry Road, N.W.
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5:30 p.m. Gardens and grounds close at 5:15 p.m.
Cost: Tickets, $16.50 for adults, $13 for seniors and students, $11 for children aged 4 to 12.
For more information: http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com.
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Visitor’s Center and Monetary Museum
Like the O’Jays sang: “Money, money, money, money, money. Some people got to have it.” Where better to weather the recession than in the presence of lots and lots of cash? The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s visitor’s center, just off the lobby of its Peachtree Street headquarters, provides displays about monetary policy, bank supervision and the history of money, among other financial topics. Displays include lots of gold and greenbacks.
Location: 1000 Peachtree Street N.E., Atlanta, Ga., 30309.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tours by appointment for groups larger than 10.
Cost: Free. (Actually, sometimes they give you little bags of shredded cash to take home.)
For more information: http://www.frbatlanta.org/about/visitcntrstours/visitors_center.cfm.
Heritage Sandy Springs Museum
This summer, the museum that chronicles Sandy Springs’ past presents a new exhibit centered on firefighters and police officers who have served the community through the years. “Heroes of Sandy Springs” opens Aug. 7 and features photographs, film clips and artifacts tracing the roots of police and fire/rescue work in the area. The exhibit, to be displayed through Feb. 15, is located in the Williams-Payne House at Heritage Green, which also offers permanent displays relating the community’s history.
Location: 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs, Ga., 30328.
Hours: Wednesday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment.
Cost: $3 for adults, $1 for children ages 6-12, $1 for senior citizens 65 and older and free for Heritage Sandy Springs members and children ages 5 and under.
For more information: http://www.heritagesandysprings.org/The-Wiliams-Payne-House-Museum.
Oglethorpe University Museum of Art
This small, red-walled museum brings to Brookhaven art from around the world. The museum’s changing shows at times include pieces by artists whose work usually appears in much larger and more crowded galleries. The current exhibit, extended through Sept. 4, features contemporary Indian artists.
Location: 4484 Peachtree Road NE, third floor of the Philip Weltner Library.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
For more information: http://museum.oglethorpe.edu.
The Thornwell Jacobs Room at Oglethorpe University
Thornwell Jacobs helped restart Oglethorpe University in the 20th century and locate it in Brookhaven. He was president of the school for almost three decades and maintained an office at Room 101 of Phoebe Hearst Hall, a building named for college patron William Randolph Hearst’s mother. Now photos, post cards, yearbooks and memorabilia from Oglethorpe’s past fill the room and tell the college’s story. There’s even a photo of Amelia Earhart, who got an honorary degree from Oglethorpe. Nearby, visitors can see the sealed door to another of Jacobs’ contributions — the Crypt of Civilization, the first time capsule, which is not to be opened until 8113.
Location: 4484 Peachtree Road NE, in Hearst Hall.
Hours: Open during special events.
For more information: 404-364-8868.