Unleash Your Imagination at these 18 Inspiring Atlanta Museums

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Swan House at the Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Swan House at the Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Adobe Stock - Claire
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Atlanta, a city steeped in history and culture, boasts an extraordinary array of museums that allow visitors to embark on a captivating journey of discovery and inspiration. From the relics of ancient civilizations to the marvels of modern technology, these 18 awe-inspiring institutions showcase the boundless creativity and ingenuity of the human spirit. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply a curious explorer, Atlanta’s museums provide a gateway to new worlds, inviting you to unleash your imagination and immerse yourself in the wonders of science, art, and human achievement.

Table of Contents

History Museums & Historic Homes

1. Atlanta History Center

The Texas at the Atlanta History Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
The Texas at the Atlanta History Museum, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Address: 130 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

The Atlanta History Center is a remarkable 33-acre museum complex nestled in the heart of urban Atlanta, offering visitors an unparalleled journey through the rich and diverse history of the region. This magnificent institution boasts an extensive collection of exhibits and artifacts that span centuries, from the ancient traditions of Native Americans to the turbulent years of the Antebellum South, the Civil War, World Wars, and the Civil Rights Movement. The museum’s iconic attractions include the stunning 1928 Swan House, an elegant mansion once the home of Edward and Emily Inman. The Swan House has also been used in films such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015), and the opening scene of Little Darlings (1980). There is also an authentic 1840s era farm and rustic log cabins that transport visitors back to the simplicity of rural life in the 19th century. A recent addition to the museum is the famous Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama, an immersive 49-foot tall and 371-foot long diorama that depicts the pivotal Civil War battle in breathtaking detail. 

2. National Center for Civil and Human Rights

National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia
National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Marco Correa

Address: 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a powerful and immersive museum that takes visitors on a profound journey through the history and ongoing struggle for equality and justice in the United States and worldwide. Established to recognize the achievements of Civil Rights movements, this 43,000-square-foot institution in the heart of downtown Atlanta offers a comprehensive exploration of the progression of calls for freedom. Visitors can explore the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sit at a replica of the famous Woolworth’s lunch counter where protests against segregation took place, and learn about the Freedom Riders who risked their lives to challenge racial segregation in public transportation. The museum also delves into modern-day human rights issues, showcasing the ongoing fight for equality and dignity around the world.

3. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site

MLK Jr. Boyhood Home at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Mikefairbanks

Address: 450 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

This profoundly moving 35-acre park that immerses visitors in the life, legacy, and enduring impact of one of America’s most iconic civil rights leaders. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park features a compelling array of landmarks that not only shed light on the personal journey of Dr. King but also illuminate the struggle for equality and justice during the Civil Rights Movement. Visitors can explore the humble beginnings of Dr. King’s life at his beautifully restored childhood home, where he spent his formative years developing the values and convictions that would later shape his transformative leadership. Just a short walk away stands the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both Dr. King and his father served as pastors. The park also features the King Center, a museum and archive dedicated to preserving and promoting the work of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, and the Civil Rights Walk of Fame, which honors the countless individuals who fought tirelessly for equality and justice. Perhaps the most poignant and emotionally charged site within the park is the final resting place of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.

4. William Bremen Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum

William Bremen Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
William Bremen Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Dschendo2

Address: 1440 Spring St NW, Atlanta, GA 30309

The William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum has been captivating visitors since its establishment in 1996 with its poignant and deeply moving exploration of Jewish history, culture, and traditions. The exhibits delve into the intricacies of Judaism, offering an understanding of the religion’s beliefs, practices, and values, while also shedding light on the resilience and perseverance of the Jewish people in the face of adversity. One of the most powerful and emotionally resonant aspects of the museum is its dedication to preserving the stories of Holocaust survivors including some who found refuge in America.

5. Margaret Mitchell House

Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta, Georgia
Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Carol M. Highsmith

Address: 979 Crescent Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Famed author of Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, and her second husband, John Marsh, lived in this home in 1925. While they did not take up occupancy in the entire house, they resided in the first-floor apartment. Mitchell had previously been a reporter, but while recovering from a foot injury, she spent much time in the apartment she titled “The Dump”. Her loathing of the apartment led to her husband bringing her books to read from the library he would pick up after work. After some time, she had nearly read all the books in the library, so her husband told her to “write her own.” With that advice, she penned her only novel, Gone with the Wind. The book rose in popularity. Her novel was made into a film in 1939 and was one of the first color films in history. Today, the Margaret Mitchell House is a museum and is operated as part of the Atlanta History Center Midtown campus.

6. Wren’s Nest

Wren's Nest, Atlanta, Georgia
Wren’s Nest, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Lain Shakespeare

Address: 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW, Atlanta, GA 30310

The Wren’s Nest, a charming Victorian home nestled on two acres in Atlanta’s historic West End, preserves the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris, the renowned author and journalist best known for his Uncle Remus stories, which centered around the clever and mischievous Br’er Rabbit. These tales, rooted in the rich oral tradition of African American storytelling in the American South and the Caribbean, were passed down through generations to preserve cultural heritage, impart wisdom, and provide entertainment. Today, visitors to The Wren’s Nest can explore the meticulously restored rooms where Harris lived and worked, engage with exhibits that dive into the history and significance of the Br’er Rabbit stories, and participate in storytelling events, writing workshops, and educational programs that celebrate the art of storytelling and the diverse cultural heritage of the American South, keeping the rich tradition of African American folklore alive and relevant for new generations.

Art & Design Museums

7. High Museum of Art

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Josh Hallett

Address: 1280 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309


Showcasing over 1,200 paintings, sculptures and more, the High Museum of Art is dedicated to sharing cultural and historical representations of notable artwork. With a variety of permanent and traveling exhibitions, this museum is one of Atlanta’s premier art museums. From contemporary photography to original handmade clay pots from the South’s Antebellum period, visitors can dive in to the history of Atlanta and the world through these collections.

8. Michael C. Carlos Museum

Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Daniel Mayer

Address: 571 South Kilgo Cir NE, Atlanta, GA 30322

Boasting the most extensive collection of ancient art in the Southeast United States, the Michael C. Carlos Museum offers a vast array of over 25,000 works of art. With objects dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, the Middle East, and even the Americas, this expansive art collection will surely bring a close look at history.

9. Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), Atlanta, Georgia
Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – John Ramspott

Address: 1315 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

The Museum of Design is known to be the only museum of its kind in the region. This museum uncovers the history and understanding of design’s role in people’s everyday lives. With exhibitions on architecture, engineering, fashion, graphic and product design, and so much more, this museum and its two primary galleries welcome a new perspective on the world of design.

Science and Natural History Museums

10. Fernbank Museum

Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Address: 767 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30307

Embark on a captivating journey through time and nature at Fernbank Museum, where awe-inspiring exhibits and interactive experiences bring the wonders of the natural world to life. Step into the Giants of the Mesozoic rotunda and stand in reverence before towering dinosaur bones, marveling at the sheer size and power of these prehistoric behemoths. Venture on a Walk Through Time in Georgia, uncovering centuries of the Peach State’s rich natural history and exploring the diverse ecosystems that have shaped its landscape. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of human civilization as you encounter objects and artifacts that reveal complex cultures from around the globe. Ignite your curiosity and engage in hands-on STEAM learning at the Fantastic Forces exhibit, where the mysteries of rocket science and weather phenomena are unveiled through captivating displays and interactive experiments. For younger visitors, NatureQuest offers an immersive adventure like no other, transporting children to enchanting swamps, mysterious caves, majestic mountains, and the depths of the sea, fostering a deep appreciation for the natural world and its many wonders.

11. David J. Spencer CDC Museum

CDC Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
CDC Museum, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Jim Gathany

Address: 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30329

The David J. Sencer CDC Museum, a Smithsonian-affiliated institution, offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and ongoing work of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s premier public health agency. Through a thoughtfully curated mix of exhibitions and digital programming, this free museum explores the critical role of public health in safeguarding communities and promoting wellness on a global scale. Visitors embark on an enlightening journey through the CDC’s history, uncovering the groundbreaking discoveries, innovative strategies, and tireless efforts that have shaped the field of public health. From the eradication of smallpox to the ongoing battles against infectious diseases and chronic health conditions, the museum’s exhibits illuminate the complex challenges and remarkable achievements of public health professionals.

Industry-Specific Museums

12. Delta Flight Museum

Delta Flight Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
Delta Flight Museum, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Mattwillmarron

Address: 1060 Delta Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30354

The Delta Flight Museum, a captivating aviation museum located near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, offers visitors a unique glimpse into the rich history and technological marvels of air travel. Housed at the headquarters of Delta Airlines, this interactive museum features an array of rare artifacts, vintage aircraft, and hands-on exhibits that bring the excitement and wonder of flight to life. From the early days of aviation to the modern era, the museum’s collection showcases the remarkable evolution of aircraft, including the opportunity to explore the first-ever Boeing 747-400, where visitors can even walk on the wing. For those who have always dreamed of taking to the skies, the Delta Flight Museum offers an unparalleled experience: the world’s only public Boeing 747 flight simulator, allowing visitors to step into the role of a pilot and navigate the iconic aircraft through virtual skies.

13. World of Coca-Cola

World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta, Georgia
World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Address: 121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Refresh yourself at the World of Coca Cola and dive into an exploration deep into the history of the famous soda company. Located in downtown Atlanta in Pemberton Place (named after the founder of Coca-Cola), the World of Coca-Cola features a vault with the secret formula for the iconic drink along with hundreds of memorabilia from the drinks history. Take a photo with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear or watch a feature 3-D film that tries to solve the secret formula. On your way out, stop in the tasting room to sample 60 different flavors of Coca-Cola related beverages from around the world. The gift shop sells everything from t-shirts to magnets and tumblers resembling all things from the Coca-Cola Company.

14. Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking

Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, Atlanta, Georgia
Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – TallQuasar

Address: 500 10th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30332

The Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, nestled within the Georgia Institute of Technology, is a hidden gem that promises to transform your perception of this everyday material. Housing the world’s most extensive collection of paper and paper-related artifacts, this unique museum takes visitors on a fascinating journey through the history and significance of paper. From its invention to its crucial role in the development of printing presses and its indispensable presence in our daily lives, the museum’s exhibits illuminate the surprising depth and complexity of this seemingly simple substance.

Children’s Museums

15. Children’s Museum of Atlanta

Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia
Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – JJonahJackalope

Address: 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, a vibrant and engaging destination located in the heart of downtown, offers a world of wonder and discovery geared for young minds aged 8 and under. With over 16,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, this delightful museum encourages children to explore, play, and learn in a stimulating and nurturing environment. From the enchanting “Let Your Creativity Flow” arts and crafts gallery to the captivating “Fundamentally Food” exhibit, which teaches children about the journey of food from farm to table, the museum’s carefully curated displays spark curiosity and inspire imagination. Young visitors can also dive into the world of construction and engineering at the “Tools for Solutions” exhibit or embark on a global adventure in the “Gateway to the World” geography section.

Specialty Museums

16. College Football Hall of Fame

College Football Hall of Fame, Atlanta, Georgia
College Football Hall of Fame, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Address: 250 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

The College Football Hall of Fame is a must-visit destination for sports enthusiasts and fans of the beloved American pastime. This state-of-the-art museum spans 95,000 square feet and offers an immersive and interactive experience that celebrates the rich history, legendary players, and iconic moments of college football. With exhibits showcasing an extensive collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and multimedia displays, as well as interactive features like the personalized “All-Access Pass” and a thrilling theater, the Hall of Fame brings the passion and excitement of the game to life. Visitors can explore the evolution of college football, from its early days to the present, and gain a deeper appreciation for the sport’s enduring impact on American culture and the countless lives it has touched.

17. Museum of Illusions

Address: 264 19th St NW Suite 2200, Atlanta, GA 30363

Step into a world where reality bends and the impossible becomes possible at the Museum of Illusions, a captivating “edutainment” destination that promises to challenge your perceptions and ignite your imagination. This mind-bending museum offers a series of immersive illusion rooms, installations, and images that showcase the fascinating science and nature behind the seemingly impossible. From gravity-defying displays to optical illusions that will leave you questioning your senses, the Museum of Illusions breaks down the barriers between reality and fantasy, providing a deeper understanding of the principles that govern our world. Visitors of all ages will delight in the hands-on, interactive exhibits that encourage exploration and discovery, making this mesmerizing museum a fun-filled adventure for the whole family.

Presidential Libraries

18. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, Atlanta, Georgia | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Gray wolf

Address: 441 John Lewis Freedom Pkwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum stands as a tribute to the life, legacy, and enduring impact of James Earl Carter Jr., the 39th President of the United States. Born and raised in the small, tight-knit peanut farming community of Plains, Georgia, Carter’s humble beginnings shaped his values and influenced his approach to leadership throughout his remarkable career. The museum chronicles Carter’s journey from his early days in the Georgia State Senate to his tenure as Governor of Georgia and, ultimately, his presidency, highlighting the key moments and accomplishments that defined his political career. Visitors can immerse themselves in the history of the Carter administration, exploring a meticulously crafted full-size replica of the Oval Office as it appeared during his presidency, offering a glimpse into the heart of American power and decision-making. The museum also proudly displays Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Conclusion

From the thought-provoking exhibits at the Atlanta History Museum to the awe-inspiring wonders of the Fernbank Museum and from the whimsical delights of the Children’s Museum of Atlanta to the mind-bending experiences at the Museum of Illusions, each destination has the power to transform the way we understand ourselves and the world around us. As you embark on your own adventures through these captivating museums, embrace the opportunity to let your imagination run wild, to ask questions, and to discover the extraordinary beauty and complexity of the human experience.

If you enjoyed reading this post or have visited Atlanta’s museums before, leave a comment below or share this post on your favorite social media!

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Ashley Gary
Greetings, fellow adventurers! I'm Ashley, and I'm delighted to share my journeys and knowledge with you. As a passionate travel writer and devoted adventurer, I'm constantly fueled by the excitement of discovering new destinations and uncharted territories. With a heart full of curiosity and a suitcase packed with dreams, I've wandered through bustling marketplaces, hiked mist-covered mountains, and wandered down cobblestone streets in search of stories waiting to be told. Through my travel chronicles, I hope to not only transport you to the farthest corners of the globe but also inspire you to embrace the thrill of stepping into the unknown. Adventure awaits, and I can't wait to share it with you to help you find your adventure!

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