Finding the best museum tour for your group is a matter of taste and needs. These museum tours come in a variety of fashions; some appeal to adults, others cater to families, while others focus mainly on trying to hold a child’s attention. These choices represent the best of each kind.
High Museum of Art
“Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas”
1280 Peachtree St. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309
Far and away one of the most accessible shows for the general public, “Dream Cars” at The High Museum complements the eye-catching display with two useful audio tours. Adults will appreciate the history lesson provided by Sarah Schleuning, Curator of Decorative Art & Design, as well as hearing from Ken Gross, a consulting car expert and historian. Meanwhile, the Kid’s Tour is designed to be accessible to children ages 6-12, with child actors interacting with the tour’s narrator. Children are rhetorically asked to consider the material limitations of cars and ways they might innovate on cars of their own design. Rental fees for the audio tour are a little pricey, but you can download a cheaper app version on your smartphone.
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Museum of Design Atlanta
Wine & Design Tour with the Museum Director
1315 Peachtree St. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309
In contrast to the High’s come-as-you-are exhibition, MODA offers a more discriminating and exclusive museum tour. Starting August 17, “AIGA 100: A Century in Design” showcases the evolution of commercial design. If you can afford the $50 price tag, your group will get the personal attention of Museum Director Laura Flushe as well as a glass of wine at the door. Reservations can be made by phone or email. Tour options are available for whatever the current exhibition happens to be, so this is an interesting option to keep in mind for future exhibitions, as well.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
75 Bennett St.
Atlanta, GA 30309
The Contemporary also offers tours by reservation, but only standard admission fees apply in this case. The Collections and Exhibitions Manager simply asks for two weeks advance notice and groups of fewer than 25. The “Blue Collar Modernism” of Atlanta artist Scott Ingram is now available as a part of the Working Artist Program. Picture minimalist deconstructions of shape and form, using conventional building materials instead of paint. The Contemporary is one of the best places to take the pulse of the Atlanta art community, but beyond its doors, its “Art Merge” program also offers off-site tours of artists’ workplaces. Consult the website frequently for seasonal and time-sensitive tours.
Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University
571 S. Kligo Circle N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30322
The Carlos Museum at Emory is a great place for family-friendly tours. It has an incredible permanent collection of artifacts and a diverse array of tour options to experience them. Carlos has a weekly scheduled tour at 2 p.m. on Sunday if you have a small party; but it also offers docent-led tours by reservations of 10 or more people. Additionally, Emory provides the extra service of “Museum Moments [which] is a tour designed for people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia,” as well as audio recorded tours for a small fee. In terms of flexibility and cost, the Carlos is the best option in town.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
767 Clifton Road N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
For children growing up in Georgia, and more specifically the Greater Atlanta Area, a field trip to Fernbank is essentially a required rite of passage. To this end, Fernbank provides a detailed menu of exhibitions tailored to grade levels from kindergarten to high school. Parents, caretakers and teachers can consult this handy chart of exhibition by grade level to figure out which movies, topics and programs are appropriate for their kids. The IMAX theater is sure to make a powerful impression on children of all ages.
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With a BFA in Digital Media, Sean Mills has worked for design firms with clients across the United States. He has worked as an illustrator and visual designer, and has shown paintings in juried exhibitions. He currently works as a studio artist and writer in Atlanta, Georgia. His work can be found at Examiner.com.