Tag Archive | history museum

Atlanta 2018: Atlanta History Center Exhibits

Day 5, Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday was my last full day in Atlanta and I decided to head over to the Atlanta History Center.  I took the subway over – the furthest distance I had traveled on the subway so far, and then had to walk about a mile to get to the Center.  It is an easy walk through a busy neighborhood with a sidewalk, but there was lot of traffic on that road, passing lots of big hotels, chain stores and strip malls, so it isn’t really much of a leisurely, scenic walk.

The center has multiple parts.  A full museum inside, an annex building with a special exhibit, and three historic homes outside, two of which have been moved to the property.  This place is fascinating!

Inside the museum, there were exhibits on Atlanta’s history from its founding to the present day.  It touched a little bit on the Civil War, but focused more on businesses and industries in Atlanta, its civic pride, and daily life.  I have to admit the KKK shield was disturbing, but an important reminder of the dark side of our history.


Another exhibit went into detail on the Civil War and had a lot of great artifacts.  The exhibit explained which major events were happening during each year of the war.  It told about life in camp, life at home, the customs of mourning the dead, and about the occupation of the south by the Union Army.


Another exhibit explored the Trail of Tears, and the removal of the Cherokee and other tribes, but it didn’t go into as much detail as I would have liked.  They did have a lot of first-hand accounts from Native Americans about their present-day experience and the experience of their ancestors.

Another exhibit was on folk art objects and they had a lot!  There was crockery, from the 1600s all the way up to present day, musical instruments, furniture, and tools.  It was really interesting to see how some items have changed over time, and others really haven’t!


I did skip the exhibit on golfer Bobby Jones; I have just never been much into sports and I am really not into golf…  I am sure that golf enthusiasts would find it fascinating, but there are a few things that I just can’t muster up the motivation for…

I had lunch at Souper Jenny, the onsite café, and it was really good.  I had a soup and salad combo, which came with a roll and cookie.  It was so much food that I saved my roll and cookie for later and ended up eating those for dinner instead of going out.

I would have liked to see the special exhibit on the Doughboys of World War I, but I wanted to see the historic homes outside first and by the time I was finished, I was a bit worn out.  Sometimes you can’t see it all, but I will share about the center’s historic home exhibits next!

Yellowstone Road Trip 2017: High Desert Museum

Day 10, Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Today was another long day of driving, so we planned to be heading out at 7.  We actually ended up getting on the road at 7:30, so we didn’t do too bad – after all, we did sort of dawdle at the hotel breakfast for awhile…

And then we drove…  For awhile… Through desert and sagebrush and lots and lots of Eastern Oregon boring…  The monotony was broken up only by a couple of restroom breaks, and a short stop for road construction in the middle of nowhere – so nowhere, I don’t even know where nowhere was…  These are big states out West people…

There isn’t much that’s exciting to say about this 5 hours of mind numbing car sitting, except there was a little incident.  The girls were bickering, so my brother did the classic, “Do you want me to pull this van over?” screeching stop on the side of the highway, releasing a huge plume of gravel dust into the air!  Then we rearranged – my sister in law in the far back with one niece, my other niece in the middle seat, and me up front.  Grounded in a 7 passenger mini van!  I had to try really hard to keep a straight face; sometimes it pays to be the aunt!

Finally, just before 1 pm, we made it to the High Desert Museum.  We had peanut butter wraps for lunch in the parking lot, and then headed inside.  This place is amazing!  My brother and his family knew that of course, since they had been there several times.  The High Desert Museum is part history museum, complete with interactive history exhibits, and part zoo/conservation center.

The High Desert Museum

I checked out the exhibits on World War II, the Native Americans during the period of assimilation in the United States, and a exhibit of really gorgeous Oregon photography! The exhibits are very well done and interactive.  They also have an outdoor area with historic buildings that you can go inside, including a homestead home, a root cellar, a barn and an old sawmill!  They have a couple of train cars as well that are being restored and aren’t on display.


We also saw several of the animal shows, including Desert Dwellers, featuring the Desert Tortoise, the American Badger and the Porcupine, a show featuring a Great Horned Owl (he can’t fly due to an injured wing), and a show featuring their River Otters.  They also have animals on exhibit throughout the museum, so you can see them outside of the shows as well.  They have several types of snakes and lizards, a Gila Monster, a Bobcat, and several birds of prey.


Note: Photo credit for the Bobcat goes to my Sister in Law.


Note: Photo credit for the Barn Owl, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagle goes to my Sister in Law.

After we left the Museum, we went into downtown Sisters, Oregon and had dinner at the Sisters Saloon (they have an all ages section).  I had the Bison Burger and a cider – delicious!  We all enjoyed the kids menu, because it had word searches.  I love word searches, so I enjoyed helping the kids find their words.  Sometimes it is the simple things.

Sisters Saloon

After dinner, we checked into what is known simply as the “Llama Hotel” in my family.  That’s right – the Best Western in Sisters, Oregon has a herd of llamas onsite to captivate and delight guests – my nieces and nephew love it and always ask to stay there, so we did.  Like many Best Westerns, it has a Western theme, and this one also has a nice outdoor pool and covered hot tub.  Of course, we made good use of it!

A doe and her fawn at the Llama Hotel

Perhaps strangely, I did not take any photos of the llamas at the Llama Hotel (don’t judge me!), but I did capture this mama deer nursing her still spotted fawn.

Our evening was capped off by sitting on the deck of my brother’s room, sipping on adult beverages while the kids watched TV inside.  It was fabulous.

Distance for the Day: Nampa, ID – High Desert Museum, Bend, OR – Sisters, OR (5 hours, 43 minutes; 333 miles – you gain an hour coming west with the time change)
High Desert Museum Entrance Fee: $15 per adult, $9 per child (3-12)
Best Western Ponderosa Lodge: Sisters, OR: $210 for my room (includes tax) – free breakfast!  NOTE: Bend and Sisters are incredibly expensive in the summer season!


King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs

Jon and I went to the King Tut: Valley of the Kings exhibit with Jon’s parents, sister and brother-in-law on October 21, 2012. The exhibit is on display at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington, through early January 2013. I had been excited about going for a while, but we had a pretty busy summer, and we figured that the crowds might die down in the fall when there aren’t quite so many tourists in Seattle. Jon and I were planning to head down to Seattle to see the Calexico show on Friday night (you can read more about that in my previous post), so we decided to just stay another day and hang out with the family and see the exhibit on Sunday. What a great weekend!

The exhibit starts out with a movie in the ante-chamber (that’s a play on words folks, because King Tut’s tomb also has an ante-chamber!) before you are released to go into the actual exhibit. Once you begin there is a big crowd of people, because even though they do a timed entry, you are still entering the exhibit all at once with the other people at your time. Once you are in, you have as much time as you would like to view the exhibit, but there is no food, no bathroom and no re-entry.

The first several rooms of the exhibit contain statues of various pharaohs and advisors from different periods in Egyptian history. Some of the statues are full bodies, some are just heads. They explain how the facial features actually are portraits, which serve as a good representation of what that individual looked like. They can also tell, based on finding a statue that doesn’t look like who is it supposed to be, that the statue was appropriated by a pharaoh for re-use. Basically, pharaohs sometimes took statues of earlier pharaohs, and had their names carved over the name of the previous ruler. I guess ego isn’t something that is new to this world!

They had a sarcophagus (a box that was built to hold a mummy) for a royal cat who had died and was mummified. They did not explain whether the cat died of natural causes and then was mummified, or if the rulers had their pets killed and then placed in the tombs with them. At any rate, the box was carved with all sorts of cat pictures that were pretty neat.

As you get further along in the exhibit, you get to see gold artifacts from both King Tut’s tomb and others. No, you won’t see his death mask (the Egyptian government has decided that the mask is too fragile to be traveling the world and will remain permanently in Cairo now), but you will see lots of beautiful gold jewelry, including earrings, pendants, bracelets and breast plates. There are also gold chalices, and boxes inlaid with gold and other precious stones. The detail on all of it is exquisite, and it is hard to comprehend how they did this beautiful work 3,000 years ago without the metalworking technology that we have today.

Then, you get to King Tut’s “tomb”, or at least this exhibit’s representation of it. King Tut was buried in a very small tomb compared to all the other pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings, and archaeologists believe that it because he died unexpectedly, and they had to use a tomb that was originally meant for another individual of lesser status. But even so, it had four rooms. There was the ante-chamber, the annex, the burial chamber and the treasury. They were all stuffed to the gills with artifacts. The Egyptians believed that the mummies would magically return to life in the afterlife, so they needed to be buried with all the stuff they would need in the afterlife. King Tut’s tomb was no different.

Archaeologists believe that the tomb was robbed twice, but both times were shortly after King Tut was placed there (within months), because the stolen items were oils and perfumes that were perishable. I’m not sure why they would go for oils, and leave the gold, but that’s just me. That must have been some awesome oil! The next pharaoh went on a campaign to try to scrub King Tut’s name from the records, erasing his name off of statues in his honor, etc., and archaeologists believe that this was good for him in the long run, because his tomb was quickly forgotten and covered over. At one point, there were worker’s huts built over the entrance to the tomb, and the inhabitants likely had no idea what they were sleeping over!

So, the stuff, you ask. The exhibit showed some pictures of the items in the tomb, which included a model boat, complete with oars and sails, figurines of animals, furniture, sandals, and jewelry. When the tomb was discovered, they had to be very careful about removing all the artifacts for preservation, and items were piled high on top of each other in a jumble. Removing one artifact could cause the rest to come tumbling down, so it took 7 weeks to clear out the ante-chamber. King Tut’s mummy was not uncovered until a year and a half after the tomb was discovered!

There were figurines in the form of humans called shabtis, which were representations of servants who would magically come to life in the afterlife so the pharaoh didn’t have to do any work. I would love to have a shabti, although I would want it to come to life right away, and deal with the big pile of laundry on my floor.  The mummy’s organs were also preserved in canopic coffinettes and placed into the canopic chest.  The exhibit shows one of the coffinettes, which are made of gold, and inlaid with carnelian and colored glass.  All four have individual decoration.  And they are magnificent!  Oddly, the ancient Egyptians did not see the brain as important, and they discarded the brain during the mummification process.

A wooden box was also in the tomb, and within the box were two tiny coffins containing the mummies of King Tut’s two daughters, both fetuses.  One fetus was about 5 months along, and the other was 8-9 months (they did remove these mummies before sending the coffins off to tour the world).  It is known that Tutankhamen did not have any surviving children, because the throne did not pass to a descendant of his.

I thought the exhibit was excellent, but I wish they would have provided a bit more information on what the items were used for or whey they were placed in the tomb.  I mean some things were obvious, like a bed or a chair, but what did a ewer hold?  And what was a unguent vessel used for?  If you have a chance to visit, you should – and plan on taking your time!  Maybe it drives Jon’s family nuts that I’m always the last to finish, but at least they don’t try to rush me through!

The exhibit didn’t allow photography, so I don’t have any photos to share, but OregonLive has a Photo Essay with some fantastic exhibit photos.  Check it out here.