Georgia has a long and colorful history, and when planning a vacation to the area, be sure to set aside time in your itinerary to visit some of the excellent Georgia museums. Whether you're planning to visit the northern part of the state, the Barrier Islands, or the southern coast, there is an array of museums, covering topics such as Civil War relics and antebellum architecture, as well as World War II aircraft and the first lighthouse built on St. Simon's Island.
One of the finest Georgia museums found is in Milledgeville, south of Atlanta. The Old Governor's Mansion, built in 1839 in the High Greek Revival style, has its place in history as the headquarters of General Sherman in 1864 as he made his march to the sea through Georgia. The completely restored mansion is a National Historic Landmark open to the public with daily tours.
Located south of Macon, a free Georgia museum of interest is the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. The museum features exhibits, information, memorabilia, and aircraft from the Second World War, as well as Korea and Vietnam, and an exhibit of the Thunderbird F-16 aircraft.
The largest number of Georgia museums is found in the capital city, and along with the numerous other area attractions, they ensure that visitors to Atlanta will find plenty to do during a vacation. Local museums include the High Museum of Art, Stone Mountain, and the Fernbank Museum, one of the most famous.
At the Fernbank Museum, visitors can explore natural history through a series of hands-on exhibits, interactive projects and exhibits, ancient fossils, and feature at the IMAX theater. One of the most outstanding permanent exhibits at the Fernbank Museum is its replica of the largest dinosaurs in the world, found in Patagonia, South America. The Giants of the Mesozoic exhibit allows visitors to stand at the feet of these gigantic specimens ranging from 47 to 123 feet long. Along with the dinosaurs, an assortment of flying reptiles, some with wing spans of eighteen feet, and fossilized crocodiles round out the exhibit.
A vintage museum in Atlanta is the Tullie Smith Farm, built in the 1840s. The farm survived the burning of Atlanta in 1864, and today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours led by guides in period costume take visitors through the home and outbuildings and show the lifestyle of rural Georgia during that time in history. Visitors who are further interested in the Civil War era can visit one of the best-known museums in Atlanta, which features exhibits and a guided tour of the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum. Her novel, Gone with the Wind, captures the history of the South during the Civil War, and the tour takes visitors through the home where she wrote the book.
For guests who would like to learn still more about Georgia history, it's worth visiting one of the most photographed museums in Atlanta is the Swan House, built in 1928. The fully restored mansion depicts the lifestyle of the Inman family during the 1920s and 30s. Through self-guided or guided tours, visitors explore the home complete with authentic furnishings. The gardens are also open to the public for viewing. Visitors can also tour the state capitol building, constructed in the 1880s, and visit the capitol's museum, home to a collection of historic flags.
A few miles northeast of Atlanta is the city of Duluth, which is home to the Southeastern Railway Museum. This family-friendly museum features a large exhibit of classic and historic rail cars, steam locomotives, and authentic Pullman cars on a total of 30 acres.
In north Georgia, near Amicalola Falls, vacationers can visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum, which is housed in the oldest courthouse in the state. Built in 1836, the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains artifacts, machinery, and coins from the gold rush days.
Whether you're interested in visiting a Georgia art museum or in learning more about the history of this state and the South, there are plenty of options. Guests of all ages and interests are virtually guaranteed to find something that interests them among the variety of exhibits, collections, and historical tours around the state.