Atlanta Stories and Tips

The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum

Flags in Front of the Jimmy Carter Center Photo, Atlanta, Georgia

After visiting the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site and having a quick lunch on the grounds from Superior Fish Company, Mom and I were ready to head down the road to The Jimmy Carter Museum and Library. Located on Freedom Parkway, the Carter Center is home to thousands of our 39th President's memorabilia and documents from his presidency to his Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 to Habitat for Humanity and other endeavors Mr. Carter and his wife Rosalynn have been a part of for the 27 years Mr. Carter has been out of office.

What I thought was going to be an easy run from downtown Atlanta down Freedom Parkway to the Carter Library and Museum turned out to be a little more difficult than expected. With Mom riding shotgun and keeping an eye out for any signs, we saw some signs to the museum and center but missed the turnoff to get into the parking lot and wound up at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Freedom Parkway. GRRR! Mom was having a little beauty crisis and needed something from a drug store, and we saw a Rite Aid and decided to stop there for Mom and for directions. The nice girl at the counter gave Mom and me directions and wondered where we were from and we told her that we were from Pensacola and were enjoying a nice day in Atlanta visiting the King Center and Carter Library. After leaving Rite Aid, Mom and I were on our way again.

We felt the signage to the Carter Library wasn't the best, but the second time was a charm, and we found the entrance to the Museum and Library, and turned off. It's a little bit of a way into the parking lot, but traffic was light for a Saturday afternoon, and Mom and were able to park near the circle of the 50 State flags and walked around a little bit before going inside the center. The grounds of the Carter Library and Center are beautifully kept and have statues and other gifts from around the USA and World.

The Carter Library and Museum has parts owned and administered by the Federal government, but library itself was built on land owned by the State of Georgia that was originally to be a highway project that Jimmy Carter cancelled while he was Georgia's governor. Construction began in 1984, and the Jimmy Carter Center and Library officially opened on October 1, 1986, Jimmy Carter's 62nd Birthday.

Mom and I entered the museum and its little souvenir stand. After paying for our admission tickets, we were told by the lady at the counter that there was a movie on Carter's Presidency starting in a couple of minutes in the movie theater next door. Actually it was starting as Mom and I took our seats, and we enjoyed a 20-minute film made in the 1980's narrated by Cliff Robertson. After the movie, Mom and I entered the museum and began touring it.

Jimmy Carter's life is one of family, public service, and world peace, and Mom and I enjoyed touring around the museum learning more about his life and family. There is a replica of Jimmy Carter's Oval Office in a separate area of the museum, and Mom and I were fascinated about how it looked like in the 1970's. There are also displays of the many gifts that Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter received from many foreign leaders and dignitaries while they were in office that are worth time looking at. Jimmy Carter was instrumental in returning the Crown of St. Stephen to Hungary in 1977 after being in American hands since the end of World War II when the crown was given to American Soldiers from Hungarians fleeing the Soviet Red Army who overran Hungary in February 1945. A replica of the Crown is on display in the museum under glass.

Along with photos and memorabilia of the Carter family and their life, there is a temporary display of Jimmy Carter's Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in mediating and ending wars in several nations and his search for world peace. I enjoyed looking at his medals from the Norwegian government and trying to translate the invitation from Norwegian to English that Carter received to get his Nobel Peace Prize in Olso, Norway.

Flash photography isn't allowed in the Carter Library and Museum, and I managed to get some pictures of the Nobel Peace Prize, Oval Office replica, and Crown of St. Stephen without my flash since they were in bright light. After touring the museum, Mom and I looked in the souvenir shop again and then headed outside to tour the grounds. A fountain is in front of the Center but wasn't in use due to it being wintertime in Georgia and freezing weather can damage water pipes. Mom and I looked at a Cherokee Rose plant that was a gift along with a statue of a caribou from Alaska's governor (not that one!) during Carter's Presidency. Mom and I joked that the poor creature was probably shot by Sarah Palin and is hanging in her living room! The Georgia Department of Energy gave Carter a lamppost as an award to his efforts to make Georgia an energy efficient state and it's outside the center. After touring the grounds, Mom and I were ready to head back to Douglasville and declared the day a success.

The Jimmy Carter Museum and Library is open daily from 8-4:30 and it costs one $8 to enter ($6 for seniors and young 'uns). It is well worth your time the next time you are in Atlanta to tour this place of history and peace.

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