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DeKalb County's Terrific Trio


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    Published 9-5-2019


    Michael C. Carlos Museum


    Michael C. Carlos Museum is located on Emory University's Atlanta campus. The current museum began in 1919 but collections first began in 1876 when a museum was formed on the original campus in Oxford, Georgia

    The current building dating to 1993 even contains its own laboratory. The museum is filled with artwork from ancient Egypt, Nubia, and the Near East; Greece and Rome; the Americas; Africa; and Asia. I didn’t have time to dig into their  papers dating  from the Renaissance to the present. In fact it’s hard to see the entire museum in one visit.

    My explorations began in the Greek section explained as we traveled throughout by docent Michael McDavid.

    Here scenes from the Trojan War on mosaics and classic Greek pottery mixed with statures. He told us that Greek pottery is the finest ever made. The detail is fantastic. One piece was a pithos of red clay with carvings and multiple decorations on the top two thirds. These were storage vessels where the bottom one third would be sunk into the ground for stabilization. It would have been used for maybe wine or olive oil Lots of detail for being what we would consider utilitarian use like today's factory.

    MMuch would have been broken in pieces and reassembled after being excavating. Many of the statures are missing heads and there are many heads with no bodies but all of the artifacts are original. There are no reproductions.

    The Egyptian section was fascinating. We walked up the Nile via a drawing on the floor depicting the Egyptian country following the Nile. We got really close up with mummies from different eras. Also perused Egyptian art and sarcophagus or coffins where the mummies were placed. There is even a mummified dog, someone's beloved pet several thousand years ago. Cats were worshiped in Egypt so naturally there are many art objects with cats pictured.o:p>

    Michael showed us one of the ten oldest mummies still in existence, "We call him the Old Kingdom Mummy because he lived and died during the earlier period when Egypt was becoming a unified state."  It's in an airtight temperature controlled glass case not wrapped as we normally see them in one tight bundle. Rather this one is wrapped with each limb and part separate. We could even see the outline of facial features. Michael explained the need for preservation after the mummy was excavated. "This mummy was on the verge of turning to dust about 15 or 20 years ago. Emory has owned this mummy for over 100 years. It was a major conservation project to preserve it."

    For me it was amazing. Here were the actual remains of a man who walked the earth over 4000 years ago. Questions that will never be answered flooded my mind. Who was he? What were his dreams and ambitions in life? Did his family once stand weeping and missing this same person I am looking at today?

    We moved into the Ancient Americas section. From utilitarian objects like an Incan digging stick since they had no animals capable of pulling a plow prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Like the Egyptians they had a complex belief related to the afterlife. Also they too had many vases and art objects reflecting feline faces. There were no domestic cats in the Americas then so the ones depicted are usually the jaguar or other wild cat.

    Jewelry was an important part of their social status. They were called orejones or "big ears" by the Spanish invaders because they wore such enormous, impressive earrings. Many of these, called ear spools, that are on display date to 300 years before the first European contact.

    This is just a touch of the treasures you will find at Michael C. Carlos Museum.

    For more about DeKalb County check here

    For more info: hhttps://carlos.emory.edu

    David J. Sencer CDC Museum

    The Center for Disease Control might be the last place you expect a museum but it is both fun and informative. It's a government facility so you need a legal photo ID or for non-citizens, a passport to enter.

    Amy Kirby, a microbiologist for the center, led us around. She told us, "I like to focus on the creativity that goes into public health. I think a lot of people think of science as being very exacting and the same thing over and over. That is true but here at CDC we have to be prepared for something new to land on our doorsteps so I want to show you about a time that happened; the first outbreak of Legionnaires Disease."

    We watched a video as the news unfolded about the American Legion members meeting in Philadelphia where many became ill and some died. It showed how the CDC investigated and studied all possible causes. The field people investigated, the people back in the laboratory looked for ways to put these facts together and come up with an answer. It was found to be a brand new bacterium spread thought the inhaling of water vapor traced in that case to air condition using water cooling tanks.

    One interesting display traces the roots of the CDC to the Marine Hospital Service established in 1798 to care for merchant seamen. Its duties grew to the inspection of immigrants and the prevention of then common diseases like yellow fever, cholera, and malaria. By 1902 it became the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service which was shortened to Public Health Service in 1912. In 1946 it became the Communicable Disease Center.

    The displays range from simple items like early 20th century quarantine sign, an early uniform, and a sign on protecting your privy, to more important items like Dr. Joseph Mountin’s microscope, an iron lung, a early USPHS Quarantine box and so much more.

    Amy walked us thought the discovery of a polio vaccine, the eradication of smallpox, studies on ebola, AIDS and Guinea worm, which the Jimmie Carter Foundation has worked to eradicate. Incidentally she informed us that one of the only two existing samples of the smallpox virus is kept just a few hundred feet away here at the CDC. The other is in Russia.

    There is an exhibit on the ethics of science where it discussed the syphilis study on 399 African American men who had syphilis and were studied for long term effects and not given treatment even after penicillin was discovered in the 1940s. The results of that event caused protections to be put in place to protect subjects of health studies from unethical treatment. o:p>

    The museum can be visited for free but be sure to have proper identification.

    For more info: hhttps://www.cdc.gov/museum/index.htm

    Fernbank Museum

    Fernbank Museum of Natural History takes you back to a past way before even the Carlos Museum. As you approach the front entrance you are greeted by a family of dinosaurs. They are a sub species of the hadrosaur known as Lophorhothon atopus that lived in Georgia during the Cretaceous Period long before any humanoid creatures evolved. Fernbank has even named the dinosaurs, the mother, the larger center one, is Georgia. The two juveniles besides her are Haddie and Ferny.

    We stepped into the Great Hall, which hosts Giants of the Mesozoic Exhibit, and met a 100-ton Argentinosaurus fossil skeleton. The Great Hall is filled with skeletons of giant dinosaurs; Giganotosaurus, who was four feet longer than Tyrannosaurus rex with a 6-foot-long skull; Anhanguera, a flying reptile, nicknamed "Old Devil;" a flock of 21 Pterodaustroa, a smaller flying reptile.  All of them lived in the badlands of Patagonia some 145 to 165 million years ago.

    Here we met our guide who introduced us to these bony giants. She led us outside to get a glimpse of 75 acres of new outdoor nature adventures in WildWoods and Fernbank Forest and no surprise, we met another dinosaur; Stegosaurus was crafted by Jonas Studios and perches on the deck overlooking WildWoods.

    Back inside, there is a time line that makes me feel insignificant. While these dinosaurs romped around the earth over 100 million years ago, the first humanoid evolved around 2 to 3 million years and began crafting stone tools and Homo Sapiens only arose and a mere 200 thousand years ago. We're newcomers.

    A Walk Through Time in Georgia is filled with dioramas that capture the sights and sounds of the state's main geographic regions. This section takes you through all of Georgia's regions. The exhibits are detailed about wild life and plants as well as the geological features that make each part of Georgia unique.

    And it's not just about present day Georgia. There is a huge exhibit of – you guessed it—dinosaurs that roamed prehistoric Georgia. There is one exhibit of a cute baby dianasoue hatching from one of several eggs. There is everything from fossil skeletons to recreations of the giant reptiles. There is even a replica of a fossilized dinosaur foot print.

    We moved from prehistoric times to modern in Fantastic Forces, Fernbank's new STEM Exhibit. This one is totally interactive. We experimented with lifting our own weight via seats with pull ropes. Makes one feel strong. Another exhibit lets you use a pulley connected at two different centers of gravity. Amazing the difference it makes when you try and move the same object here.

    One of my favorites was where you use your hand's own electronic reaction to pull what looks like small lightning bolts where you choose.

    There are various ways to explore combustion, aerodynamics, plate tectonics and more. All of nature's forces become more understandable here.o:p>

    Other features include an IMAX theater, a cafe and museum store.

    For more info: https://www.fernbankmuseum.org

    I could have spent many more hours exploring these three museums.




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