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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Michael C. Carlos Museum 571 S Kilgo Cir NE, Atlanta, GA

Anonymous said...
Michael C. Carlos Museum 571 S Kilgo Cir NE, Atlanta, GA

This museum is spectacular. Delightfully anachronistic and mind-numbingly boring, the Carlos Museum stole my heart. I’m not sure why, but I simply love it there… most of the exhibits (the Ancient Americas in particular) are really fairly bad, as they just contain some old pottery (cool, if you are the one digging it up out of an excavation site… but after looking at many many many of them throughout the museum, it gets quite boring) and figurines, jewelry perhaps, and the like. However, these admittedly boring exhibits allow for interesting conversation, so it’s the perfect spot to go with friends for quiet conversation along with a stroll through the museum.

The Egyptian exhibit, complete with mummies and several sarcophaguses, is TRULY astounding, and unsurprisingly so. However, to the shrewd observer, it becomes painfully obvious that this is only an exhibit in a museum that clearly has somewhat low standards… beneath a burial piece (in one of the coffins), a large piece of Styrofoam is visible, in place of the mummy. Disappointing and definitely typical of the exhibits at this museum…

In the African exhibit (upstairs), the costume tapestry is… almost laughable (enjoyably so, though), as it is adorned with BUTTONS (did they have buttons back then? I doubt it…), and the anachronisms don’t stop there… there are quite modern-looking mirrors on other of the African pieces, and new beads on other pieces. While this may ruin the museum experience for some, it was delightful for me, and I still found the visit to the museum wonderful despite the oddity of the exhibits. I found the mask at the top of the stairs (leading to the second floor) to be the most singularly enjoyable moment at the museum.. it is simply intriguing, and you would have to see it for yourself to understand what I mean. The concept behind this mask, the fact that it was legitimately worn on peoples’ heads, everything about it is astounding and simply mind-blowing.

Also, the floorplan of the museum was a bit confusing… my boyfriend and I wandered around for quite a while trying to find the stairs (and we had a map. the place was just confusing), and ended up in the ancient meso-america exhibit twice, on accident. However, the museum really does contain some fantastically hidden spots in which history can truly be worshipped. Pictures are even permitted, without a flash, but the only issue is the stealth of the guards - truly world-class security. Even when one is taking perfectly legal pictures, or simply basking in the glory of an African mask, the guards are watching… it is unnerving to say the least. But necessary, I suppose, so my overall reaction to the security is still positive.

So honestly, though this museum can be a bit… lame in content, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’ve been 3 times now, and it gets better every time, even though the exhibits are still the same. - At one time they did have a nice King Tut exhibit (but not King Tut… just pictures? and some artifacts? that was disappointing..), which was good in itself, but did not live up to the standards I had expected. That is just like this museum.. if you go in without very high expectations, you will probably love it. Otherwise, you may be disappointed. Personally, it was good enough for an evening or two out.

September 10, 2009 5:55 AM

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