Our Fascinating World

trexaboveCome Explore it at Tellus: Northwest Georgia Science Museum

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by Anastasia Teasley

In 2007, the Weinman Mineral Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, closed its doors to await a monumental reconstruction project. Local schools and community residents waited with eager hearts as an impressive, modern building began to take shape behind a sign that said Tellus Science Museum Coming Soon. Solar panels glistened in the sun next to a new observatory. Science museums of this magnitude seemed limited to larger cities, such as Chattanooga and Atlanta. Though many schools treasured their beloved Weinman Museum, Northwest Georgia was ready for a fun, educational and impressive resource of its own.

Tellus Museum, now a Smithsonian affiliate, is a product of dreams, donations and great expectations of bringing a new level of science and educational resources to North Georgia. In January 2009, the museum opened. The once 9,000-square foot facility of collected minerals had transformed into 120,000-square feet of state-of-the-art technology—with room enough to fit the Weinman Museum in one gallery.

Our goal of this newsletter is to provide information on educational resources that are available to parents and teachers, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to introduce you to one of Georgia’s proudest accomplishments. Tellus Museum combines exhibits open to the public with specialized education programs appropriate for schools, home schoolers, adult learners and even scouts!

What Does The Tellus Museum Feature?

There is plenty to see and do at Tellus! This museum blends exhibits with hands-on learning zones, showcasing dinosaur skeletons, space shuttle and aircraft pieces, antique automobiles, ancient fossils and gems, star-gazing from a digital planetarium and more. This is by no means a touch-free facility.

One of the main galleries especially welcoming to children is an exhibit called The Collins Family My Big Backyard. Here, young scientists learn about their environment–particularly the physical and biological sciences right in a kid’s own backyard. The Tellus Web site states that kids “will be drawn to an interactive garden created just for them. With magnet games, sorting activities, raceways and more, exploring science will be a fun, engaging opportunity even for these little ones.” This is just one of many unique kid-friendly opportunities.

Every visitor to Tellus, young and old, is encouraged to stop by the Gem Panning and Fossil Dig activity area. Georgia is known for its rich mineral history, which had been an integral part of the Weinman Mineral Museum. This is a way for students to develop a scientific and historical connection to Georgia. Grab up a pan, and sift through sand. Visitors are welcome to take home the gemstones they find! The Fossil Dig is in an adjoining room. This room simulates a real dinosaur dig. Visitors can take a brush, and reveal replicas of many different fossils including dinosaur skeletons! Diggers will even uncover shark teeth, snail shells, and other fossils; they can select one as a souvenir to take home.

Other unique exhibits include the Solar Decathlon House (a solar-powered house built by Georgia Tech students), events and lecture series on topics ranging from paleontology through astronomy, and the Smithsonian affiliation will be adding to displays and programming.

“Even though they’re a new entity, they have a wonderful facility, an excellent staff,” Smithsonian affiliations director Harold Closter said of Tellus. “It’s an asset to the community, something we respect very much for taking that on.”

Visitors are encouraged to check out www.tellusmuseum.org for updates, events and programs to plan your next visit to Tellus!

Tellus: Northwest Georgia Science Museum, 100 Tellus Dr., Cartersville. $8-$12, free for members and active military. 770-606-5700.

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