Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Museums Atlanta, GA, Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:10pm

I spent today at a couple of museums: The World of Coca-Cola and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. There was quite a contrast.

I expected the World of Coca-Cola to be an exercise in total brand immersion, and I wasn't disappointed on that front, but what really surprised me was how... strange the whole place was. A tiny part of it was that it was Halloween, and the tour guide was dressed up as Elvis, but it also seemed like the creators of the museum were at a loss for what to do. The introductory movie, for example, had a bunch of bizarrely animated characters that I've never seen before, doing an elaborate musical number about... positivity? I really couldn't see the point. And there's an exhibit that talks about the Secret Formula to Coke that leads up to a vault door that, we're told, protects the Secret Formula. But, of course, we're not allowed to enter the vault. It's an elaborate trail leading to, really, nothing.

There's a room at the end (just before the gift shop, of course), where you can sample coca-cola bottled beverages from around the world. They're organized by continent, and I was surprised to find that the continent with the best sodas is Africa, by a long shot. Even their ginger ale analogue is better than the ones in the rest of the world. Worst continent? Europe. Ugh.

The thing that drew me to the Fernbank was a special exhibition about Ghengis Khan. I should have been more wary of that. It was a solid exhibition. Good selection of artifacts. Great explanatory signage. But most of the pieces are from the Mongolian National Museum (which I visited in Mongolia), and most of the information was stuff that I've studied in greater depth in the past. Ah, well.

I got to see some giant dinosaur skeletons as well, and some well-done displays showing the wildlife of various biomes in Georgia.