Carlos Museum of Art and Artifacts, Great for All Ages

Carlos Museum of Art and Artifacts, Great for All Ages

Why not consider a day trip to the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Art and Artifacts?

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Head of ancient Egyptian noble at Life and Afterlife exhibit
Head of ancient Egyptian noble at Life and Afterlife exhibit

For those who are intrigued by art, crafts and artifacts of antiquity, plan to spend an hour or two at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus.

This museum has the largest assemblage of ancient art and artifacts in the Southeast, including every day and ritual items, sculptures, friezes, statues, currencies, and jewelry from Africa, ancient Egypt, Nubia, the Near East, ancient Greece and Rome, the Americas, and South Asia. In another area of the museum, there is an interesting display of American and European works on paper.

The main draw of the Carlos Museum, however, may be in the second floor galleries, the only place in Atlanta where one can view Egyptian mummies, and where one can experience a plethora of interesting objects from the Egypt of the pharaohs, especially those objects that illuminate rituals of the dead: the presentation of mummies is excellent, allowing the visitor to get very close to see small details clearly through glass cases.

Items from permanent African exhibit

A graphic of the Nile River, which uniquely flows south to north, is painted on the floor of the connecting passage between rooms, guiding the visitor through the geographic areas represented in the permanent collection. Objects in this comprehensive collection are clearly explained on easy-to-understand wall plaques.

To enhance the experience of young visitors, the museum offers a free family guide that uses child-friendly text, which encourages children to look closely at specific objects, and free Smarty Packs, which are filled with hands-on activities related to the exhibits. These include collectible die-cut images of Egyptian coffins, Greek vases, sculptures, and Hindu gods and goddesses. The guides (also helpful to adults) and Smarty Packs can be picked up at the ticket desk on the first floor.

Currently, the Carlos Museum is hosting an extensive touring exhibition of ancient Egyptian culture, “Life and Afterlife,” that expands and complements its permanent collection. This third-floor, multi- room exhibit focuses on the preoccupation with the afterlife in ancient Egypt. It will be on display through Aug. 6, 2023.

Parents can comfortably bring children with sensory issues because the Carlos is a sensory-inclusive museum, with a quiet area, headphone zones, and sensory bags for special needs kids. Visit the admissions desk on Level One for complete information or click on

Mummy from visiting exhibit “Life and Afterlife” at Carlos Museum

You may tour the museum galleries on your own or meet on Sundays at 2 p.m. at the admission desk on Level One to join a docent-led drop-in tour, excluding holidays. The tours are free with admission. Museum Moments tours are offered on Mondays at 2 p.m. when the museum is closed to the public. Contact Katie Ericson at to arrange a group tour for five or more adults.

While you’re at the museum, you may want to check out the impressive book shop or take a break at Ebrik Coffee Room. The bookshop, which has one of the largest selections of books on ancient Egypt of any bookstore in the country, is open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Because of staffing shortages, visitors are advised to make sure the shop is open by contacting manager Mark Burell at in advance). Ebrik Coffee Room is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday;10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; closed on Sunday.

The Carlos Museum is located on Emory University’s main campus at 571 South Kilgo Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322. Park in the nearby public parking garage and be sure to have your parking pass validated at the reception desk on the first floor in order to get free parking. The Carlos offers a “green” incentive by giving a 10 percent discount off admission to visitors who walk or bike to the museum.

Maquette of boat and crew from visiting exhibit Life and Afterlife

Museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for adults are $8; seniors and children, ages 6-17, are $6; children, 5 and younger are free. Those with a valid public library card should ask a librarian for a family pass, which will admit six persons to the Carlos Museum for free. Find out if your local library is in the family pass network.

For general information about the Carlos Museum, call 404-727-4292.

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