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Time to ‘cowboy up’ for a museum visit

Take the time to contemplate.

Canoe Kids
By Melissa Lowrie

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Photos by Melissa Lowrie

Melissa Lowrie
Melissa Lowrie

Time to saddle up for some culture, cowboys.

No moaning and groaning allowed. Why? A) no one wants to hear it and B) you will enjoy this.

The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville is not only a stunning museum filled with fabulous art, but a chance to educate yourself and your family about history ... and it’s not all cowboys and indians.

Located in Cartersville, the museum opened in 2003 and is the second largest art museum in the state of Georgia. Even more impressive: Booth was named an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2006.

You’ll enter on the main level and if you’ve had a drive with rowdy kids you’ll want to head directly downstairs to the Sagebrush Ranch Gallery. Intended for children 2-12, this is a hands-on, interactive space where kids can literally saddle up and make some noise. My 5th grader would beg to differ on the age range of the section, however.

The day we visited, the Stagebrush was empty, but this is bound to be a popular spot where the “don’t touch” museum standard does not apply.

Displays in the Heading West Gallery include an original 1865 stagecoach.

Back on the main level, the largest gallery on the floor houses the American West with more than 100 paintings and sculpture. The children in my party were in awe of the art collection and took more photos than I did.

The upper level boasts a gallery that will test your knowledge of the American Presidents. Just before entering there is an incredible mural depicting the 18 presidents that served in the 20th century. It took the artist four years to paint.

Inside the Carolyn & James Millar Presidential Gallery there are original signed letters as well as photos of each president along with interesting facts about each.

Adjacent to the Presidential Gallery is the Cowboy Gallery featuring art depicting—you guessed it—cowboys. All shapes, sizes and colors.

There is a special exhibition gallery and a space for temporary exhibits on the upper level. During our visit we saw the National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West. On display until March, the exhibit opened simultaneously at 10 art museums from Georgia to Montana last fall. The stunning photographs “capture the spirit and majesty of the American West,” according to

The exhibit features 175 photographs by National Geographic photographers taken over the last 125 years.

The two largest galleries on the floor are the Mythic West and Modern West. Did you know Andy Warhol painted western art?

The variety of artwork in these galleries is mind-boggling. Murals painted in oils to mixed-media creations with neon lighting and acrylics. Bronze sculptures dot the galleries throughout.

In the Heading West Gallery there is an original 1865 stagecoach and art depicting Americans on the go.

There is so much to see, it’s easy to spend an afternoon at Booth. My kids, in spite of preconceptions, had a great time. They thought it was “cool.”

Even more cool - kids under 12 tour the museum free of charge. Adults are $10 and seniors are $8. There is a small cafe and the obligatory gift shop; but do stop in, there are some unusual items and an impressive book selection.

Put Booth Western Museum on your list of things to do — it’s a winner. If you can’t make it to Cartersville, take your Canoe Kids on another adventure. Wherever you end up, have a great time.

One of the bronze sculptures stands outside the Booth Western Museum.


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