Michael C. Carlos Museum of Art
The Michael C. Carlos Museum, a treasure trove of art and artifacts from the ancient and modern worlds, stands
One of the oldest museums in Georgia, the Carlos Museum has a rich history tracing back to 1876, when a general collection of objects was displayed in the library on the original campus of Emory College in Oxford. The Emory College Museum, as it was then known, included seashells, biological specimens, and other assorted artifacts, in the late-Renaissance tradition of a Wunderkammer, or "Wonder Room," in which an assortment of objects was on public display. At various times in the museum's history, for instance, visitors could inspect the fingernail of a Chinese mandarin (a public official), a salt crystal from the Dead Sea, and Georgia's oldest surviving Maytag washing machine.
In 1919, after the university was relocated to Atlanta, a small group of professors officially founded the Emory University Museum, with a mission to preserve and display the collections of ethnographical, biological, geological, archaeological, and historical materials. Through 1985, the collections were housed and displayed in various buildings around the campus, including the Theology Building, the Candler Library, and the old law school building.
Over the years the Atlanta businessman Michael C. Carlos donated money to renovate the old law school building, a 1916 Beaux Arts structure designed by Henry Hornbostel, and create a permanent home for the museum. The renovation, designed by Graves, opened in 1985. The museum was renamed the Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology and was officially instituted as a museum of antiquities and fine arts, accredited by the American Association of Museums.
A major expansion in 1993, also designed by Graves, made possible the in-depth display of the museum's growing permanent collections and transformed the museum into one of Atlanta's top arts institutions. With the opening of the new building, the museum took the name of its most generous patron and became known as the Michael C. Carlos Museum.
Since 1983 Michael Carlos and his wife,
In 2003 the museum caught the attention of museum directors and curators around the world when it voluntarily repatriated the mummy of the pharaoh Ramesses I to Egypt. Long the subject of speculation in the Egyptology community, the mummy's identity was deciphered through extensive collaborative research with global scholars and Emory medical experts. The Carlos Museum returned the mummy to Egypt as a gesture of goodwill and international cultural cooperation.
The museum's various
Handbook to the Michael C. Carlos Museum (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 1996).
Peter Lacovara and Betsy Teasley Trope, The Realm of Osiris: Mummies, Coffins, and Ancient Egyptian Funerary Art in the Michael C. Carlos Museum (Atlanta: Emory University, 2001).
Rebecca Stone-Miller, ed., Seeing with New Eyes: Highlights of the Michael C. Carlos Museum Collection of Art of the Ancient Americas (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2002).
Allison Germaneso Dixon, Michael C. Carlos Museum
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.