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14 destinations to steep yourself in Atlanta history

Museums to enrich your summertime social studies

City Guide - Joeff Davis Magnum
Photo credit: Joeff Davis/CL File
Ebenezer Baptist Church - Atlanta

When it comes to history, Atlanta is full of it — a regular ol’ smorgasbord of Southern modernity. And despite our well-earned rep for tearing down our past faster than a phoenix catches fire, Atlanta still harbors a decent amount of its cultural heritage for public appreciation if you know where to look. Here are 14 museums and historic sites — covering everything from Coke to civil rights — to enrich your social studies through the summer.

Historical Place

UPDATE: The Battle of Atlanta cyclorama painting was moved to the Atlanta History Center as part of a project announced in 2014. The old Cyclorama building in Grant Park has been remodeled as an event space and became part of the Atlanta Zoo.


At 358 feet long, the Cyclorama claims to be the larges... | more...

Tourist Attractions

Founded in 1926, the center includes the Atlanta History Museum featuring signature and traveling exhibitions, the Smith Family Farm, the 1928 Swan House mansion, research archives/special libraries, and 22 acres of gardens. | more...

College or University

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this mega-campus straddling MLK Drive encompasses some of the nation's top historically black colleges and graduate schools, including Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Morehouse and Spelman colleges. Money from the Rockef... | more...

Museum

Barrington King and his father, Roswell King, co-founded the settlement that became Roswell in the 1830s. Barrington's home on a rise overlooking the old square is considered a great example of Greek revival temple architecture. Many of the original family possessions are in the home and the surroun... | more...

History Museum

The 1840 home of President Theodore Roosevelt's mother, Mittie Bulloch, serves as cultural center with photographs and documents from the Bulloch and Roosevelt families, a Civil War room, history room, and gardens. | more...

History Museum

Sponsors public outreach programs such as historic walking tours, rotating exhibits, and archives. | more...

Performing Arts Theater

In the late ’70s, Atlanta almost allowed a telephone company to demolish one of the city's architectural gems. Everybody thinks Gone with the Wind premiered here, but that happened at the Loew's Grand down the street, which did get torn down. A 60-minute guided tour is available. The Fox Theatre hos... | more...

History Museum

Although born into slavery, Alonzo Herndon became a barbershop mogul and the richest black man in Atlanta by the early years of the 20th century. His mansion is available for tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. | more...

Place of Worship

The historic church sanctuary where the young Martin Luther King Jr. was baptized and later preached with his father is open for tours seven days a week. | more...

Historical Place

This strip of destinations along Auburn Avenue provides a variety of ways to learn about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy. At the birth home, tour guides give insights into King's younger years and the discipline that led to his success as a speaker and scholar. At the King Center, ... | more...

Cultural Center

Atlanta’s newest museum near the World of Coca-Cola is designed to pay tribute to men and women who have fought for equality and justice throughout the world. The Downtown attraction notably exhibits Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic collection of personal papers and artifacts. In addition, it ... | more...

Tourist Attractions

The world's largest mass of exposed granite is the centerpiece of this park, which features golf courses, hiking trails, camping, swimming, dining, and attractions including the Geyser Towers, Summit Skyride, and much more. The park also hosts a spectacular 3-D laser light show nightly during the su... | more...

Tourist Attractions

You heard right, we said, "Waffle House Museum." In 1955, neighbors Joe Roger Sr. and Tom Forkner embarked on a plan to smother and cover the world (or at least Avondale Estates) with 24-hour dining. More than 50 years and 1,600 restaurants later, the chain's original location still stands as a test... | more...

Tourist Attractions

The new soda-pop museum, next to Centennial Olympic Park, is slicker than the old one — but still basically a big interactive commercial that you pay to watch. It features free samples of various international flavors of the company's sugar water, a mini-bottling line, and Coke-themed pop art. | more...


The list above first appeared in the 2015 CL Cityguide and was updated by CL Staff recently.



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