The Booth Museum, a western art museum located in Cartersville, Georgia, is one of those surprising finds that you just can’t stop raving about to friends.
The Booth Museum, in association with the Smithsonian Institution, is a 120,000 square foot museum located in Cartersville, Georgia, housing the largest exhibition space for Western art in the United States, and is the second largest art museum in Georgia. It’s also affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, a prestigious designation.! Guests are invited to See America’s Story through contemporary Western artwork, a Presidential Gallery, a Civil War art gallery and an interactive children’s gallery. Open since August 2003, Booth Museum is the only museum of its kind in the Southeast and was named 2020 & 2021 USA Today’s 10Best Peoples’ Choice Award for best art museum in the country and 2016 Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year from the Southeast Tourism Society. All that just 35 minutes north of Atlanta.
The Booth Museum has impressive permanent exhibits and temporary exhibits are a reason to go back, but the best part of the Booth Western Art Museum is they have fun with the western theme and the art. And I guarantee, toddlers to teens to elderly folks who grew up on Hollywood Westerns (like my dad) will enjoy this museum, here’s why.
BOOTH MUSEUM: AN AWESOME WESTERN MUSEUM IN THE SOUTH
The Booth’s permanent collection covers more than a dozen galleries, showcasing legendary artists such as Frederic Remington and Charles Russell to contemporary masters Howard Terpning and Andy Warhol. Unique to the Booth, the Millar Presidential Gallery displays a portrait and original hand-signed letter from each U.S. President, George Washington through Donald Trump.
Western Art Galleries. There are eight different galleries filled with western artwork at the Booth Museum. Each gallery is centered around a different aspect of the American West – the history, different faces of the West including women and African Americans, and some of the people who blazed the trail for others to follow. Of course, there is also a large gallery devoted to native American objects. The full-sized stagecoach is pretty awesome.
However, the one that intrigued my father the most was the Mythic West. A collection of movie posters, dime-store novels, and magazine articles that transported him back to his childhood when Tom Mix, Gene Autry, and John Wayne ruled the West and every young boy’s dreams. There are also more than 100 traditional Western paintings & sculptures divided into interpretive themes including the Karen & Joel Piassick Enduring Traditions Gallery and the Joyce & John Stevens Landscape and Wildlife Gallery.
Civil War Gallery. The cowboy is one of the great heroic figures in American history. This gallery showcases cowboys and cowgirls at work, rest, and play in more than 35 paintings & sculptures. While cowboys were taming the west, the American Civil War was tearing apart the other side of the country. Civil War art gives a glimpse into the conflict and tragedy by bringing viewers onto the battlefields and into the encampments of the soldiers. You can just hear the whizzing of the bullets and the smell of gunpowder.
Depictions of heroism, glory and tragedy – hung in chronological order to help visitors understand the battles as they occurred – in the struggle of brother against brother known as the American Civil War.
If you are interested in the Civil War, a fabulous accompaniment to a visit to the Booth is Turning Point: The American Civil War at the Atlanta History Center.
Presidential Gallery. This gallery always seems a little out of place to me in a Western art museum, but it’s still fun to walk through and see all the personal letters – one for each president. A visitor favorite! A unique collection of one-page, signed letters from every U.S. President. The original letters are accompanied with portrait photographs of each president and a variety of presidential memorabilia.
Special Exhibition. The Booth Museum is always changing up its exhibits, supplementing the permanent collection are several temporary galleries, hosting 10 to 12 exhibitions per year!
BOOTH WESTERN ART MUSEUM FOR KIDS
Sagebrush Ranch Gallery. This is one of my favorite parts of the Booth Museum. I wouldn’t call it a gallery as much as an indoor playground.
Museums can be tough for kids, especially art museums where paintings and sculptures are to be seen, but not touched. In the Sagebrush Ranch, kids learn about western artists and artwork by riding in a stagecoach, cooking on a chuck wagon, playing dress-up, and drawing horses. A fun, hands-on, interactive gallery for children, parents, and grandparents to play and learn. Organized like a working ranch, Sagebrush Ranch is designed for children ages 2-12.
The Ranch is located in the basement of the museum so you don’t have to shhh the children every five minutes, and there is plenty of room to spread out and just be a kid. It’s entertaining for a multitude of ages too. My 7-year-old was just as engaged as the toddler walking around. Take a glimpse of the Sagebrush Ranch in the video below.
By Native Hands Family Guide. This fun-filled brochure is available at the front desk of the Booth Museum of Western Art. The guide contains fill-in-the-blank, matching, crossword puzzles, and more based on the Native American objects gallery. More than 150 American Indian artifacts are represented here from tribal cultures from East to West.
BOOTH MUSEUM SPECIAL EVENTS
If you haven’t figure it out yet, I love visiting the Booth Museum pretty much any time, but part of that fun I was talking about is in the events the museum sponsors.
Brewin’ at the Booth. What’s brewin’ at the Booth each April? It’s Tacos & Tequila time! Hang out with on their South lawn and enjoy an educational tequila sampling by CaliFino Tequila, salsa & chips, and Tarascos tacos. Then get ready to experience the vibrant and captivating music of Kurt Lee Wheeler! Visit the event page for tickets. You don’t want to miss this amazing event!
Annual Cowboy Festival. Each October consists of many activities and fun for anyone! It includes Re-enactments of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Western music, Native American dancing, living history encampments, and more! Shop for Western art, jewelry, clothing, food, and pottery! Free children’s art projects, hay bale calf roping, Western Bouncy House.
During the weekend long festivals you can meet real live cowboys, learn pioneer skills, and even go to cowboy church! Taste vittles from authentic Chuck Wagons – and I don’t mean overcooked beans in a can either, we are talking delicious meals cooked over an open fire or in a dutch oven just like they did on the range. Watch a wild west gunfight that is so well done, you’ll be hiding behind a barrel.
CARTERSVILLE, GA – BEYONG THE MUSEUM
Cartersville, Ga. may seem like an unlikely place for a world class museum of western art, but that’s not all you’ll find in this town.
In addition to the Booth Museum, save some time to visit the science focused Tellus Museum. Not far from the museum is historic downtown Cartersville where you can see the world’s first Coca-Cola outdoor sign.
What: Booth Western Museum
Where: 501 Museum Dr., Cartersville, Ga. 30120, 770-382-1300
When: Open Tues. – Sun.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR BOOTH MUSEUM
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