Halfway through 2021 and you’re still trying to figure out how you can make a difference after a year of divisive national politics and protests and endless global turmoil?
Your best bet is to get to know your community and its resources. It’s the surest way to zero in on what will motivate you to become more civically engaged in ways where you can see results.
Atlanta Civic Circle offers six metro Atlanta sites that will introduce (or re-introduce) you to the rudiments of American democracy and perhaps get you civically stoked. (Hint: Why not visit one site a month through the end of the year?)
Before you lace up your walking shoes, don’t forget to take a mask and hand sanitizer and practice social distancing. Due to the pandemic, make sure you check the facilities’ websites or call to see if the facility is open before you go. Some facilities have online exhibits.
The Atlanta History Center
What: This center is 33 acres of historic homes, gardens, and exhibits.
Where 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., NW, Atlanta 30305
When: Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Details: Check out the Kenan Research Center, which is open by appointment. It has historic and horticultural holdings. Check out the center’s online collections of books, newspapers, magazines, manuscripts, digitized photos, audio, and video recordings. Call: 404 814-4000.
The Georgia Archives
What: The archives is the official repository for archival records for the state. It includes state and county records. The archive also identifies, collects, preserves, and provides access to the state’s historical documents.
Where: 5800 Jonesboro Rd., Morrow, Ga., 30260
When: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed for lunch from noon to 1 p,m.
Details: Can’t make it in person? Visit the Virtual Vault, an online portal to some of Georgia’s most important historical documents dating back to 1733. You’ll have virtual access to historic Georgia manuscripts, photographs, maps, and government records. It includes everything from political bumper stickers to a bag of pork rinds. Call: 678 364-3710
The National Archives at Atlanta
What: This archive houses permanent records created by federal agencies and courts in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Where: 5780 Jonesboro Rd., Morrow, Ga., 30260
When: Currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Details: Check the website for updates on when the archives will reopen to the public. You can view online exhibits at the website above. Call: 770 968-2100 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Georgia State Capitol
What: For an up-close look at how politics and democracy play out in Georgia, visit the state Capitol. The Georgia State Capitol is one of only 43 National Historic Landmarks in Georgia. Currently, all Capitol-guided tours are suspended until further notice. However, the Capitol is open for self-guided tours. The building’s entrance is on Mitchell Street.
Where: 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta 30334
When: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Details: Before going, pick up a copy of Democracy Restored by Timothy Crimmins and Anne Farrisee. It’s an illustrated history of the Capitol. Questions? email email@example.com or call: 404 463-4536
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
What: Located in Freedom Park, The Carter Center features papers, memorabilia, and other documents commemorating the administration and family life of the nation’s 39th president. The 39-year-old private nonprofit also has experts who’ve traveled the globe monitoring and advising the election of other countries.
Where: 441 John Lewis Freedom Pkwy NE, Atlanta 30307
When: The staff continues to work from home. Check the website to see when the facility is open to the public.
Details: Check out The Carter Center Weekend online auction (June 21-26) and broadcast show (June 26). Get details here.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights
What: Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, this museum and cultural institution seeks to connect the American Civil Rights movement with today’s global challenges.
Where: 100 Ivan Allan Jr. Blvd., Atlanta, Ga. 30313
When: Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry at 4 p.m. daily
Details: Check out Juneteenth activities and this month’s display for LGBTQ Pride Month. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. Call: 678 999-8990. To buy tickets, go here.