Spotlight On: Millennium Gate
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What looks like a large Roman-inspired arch monument in the midst of Atlantic Station is actually home to a museum that pays homage to Georgia history and Atlanta’s founding families. Standing at an imposing 100 feet tall, this seven-story monument narrates the events that unfolded to make Georgia and Atlanta, which was historically called the Gate City, what they are today. As one of the world’s most unique history museums, the monument’s internal museum depicts many important chapters of the state’s history, including the founding of Savannah, the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement.
Known as the Millennium Gate, this classically-inspired arch opened to much fanfare on July 4, 2008 to serve as a reminder that even though many consider Atlanta a young city, it’s a city with years of history, heartache and success. Developed and operated by the non-profit National Monuments Foundation, the gate was the first major classical monument built in the United States since the Jefferson Monument was built in D.C., which opened in 1943.
Modeled after the Arch of Titus, a first-century arch located on the Via Sacra in Rome, Italy, the Millennium Gate appears to be a symbolic portal into the city. Dedicated to the peaceful accomplishments that have shaped the western world, the United States and, more specifically, the state of Georgia and city of Atlanta, the museum houses three permanent exhibits and three period rooms that allow Atlantans to look back while also looking forward.
The Georgia Pioneer Gallery, which begins with Native American history and the Spanish exploration of the coast, focuses on General Oglethorpe’s creation of the Colony of Georgia.
Next, the Atlanta Pioneer Gallery showcases the city’s earlier history and the bold leadership that helped form it into one of the world’s most important cities. The gallery features photos and exhibits from some of Atlanta’s most influential families that were associated with Atlantic Steel, including the Candler, Woodruff, Herndon and Rich families.
The third gallery is the Interactive Philanthropy Gallery, which was created in collaboration with Georgia Tech’s Interactive Media Technology Center. This gallery, which combines history and technology, allows visitors to explore Atlanta and see how philanthropy has changed the various neighborhoods that comprise it. Through the use of gaming sensors, visitors can toggle between more than 5,000 “then and now” images.
In addition, there are three period rooms that showcase three distinct chapters in state history. The rooms include an eighteenth-century Colonial study from Midway, Ga., the nineteenth-century office of Thomas K. Glenn when he was president of Atlantic Steel and the twentieth-century drawing room of Pink House, the Rhodes-Robinson home designed by Phillip Shutze.
In addition to housing the 12,000 square foot museum, the Millennium Gate and the surrounding gardens are a one-of-a-kind location for weddings, corporate events, parties and charity balls.
The museum is open weekdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and reservations are preferred. Weekend viewings of the museum are by appointment only. Admission to tour the museum is $10 per adult, $8 for seniors and youths aged six to 17 and free for children six and under.
The Millennium Gate is located at 395 17th Street in Atlanta. For more information or to contact the Millennium Gate Museum, call 404-881-0900 or visit www.TheGateAtlanta.com.