America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Coca-Cola Museum, Georgia
Yeh, yeh, yeh. We know. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a history site to focus on the history of the nation's favorite soft drink, but yes, that's what we're doing. The Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta, Georgia recounts the history of the iconic cola, whose brand and symbol is likely more known in the United States today than most of the famous battles of the Civil War that were raged around its namesake home, or the names of most presidents. If you asked the average teen today who the Vice President was, or even to pick him out of a lineup, they may not know. But if you asked whether they like Coke or Pepsi best, and whether they could pick out their symbols, we're talking ninety percent plus. But, they still might not know the history of John Pemberton, Coke's founder. And if you're in Atlanta, this is one museum they might be interesting in visiting. Photo above: Twilight view of the Coca-Cola Museum, 2017, Carol Highsmith Collection. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
The Coca-Cola Museum traces the history of the Coke company from its inception by John Pemberton in 1886, when Pemberton, who had been selling the elixir as a medicine to relieve pain since the end of the Civil War, had to transform it into a beverage due to the temperance movement. The museum contains a plethora of memorabilia from that 1886 moment forward and its not a small place. Over twenty acres is dedicated to Pemberton's iconic drink, one advertised across the United States and later the world with such fervor that almost every town had a painted billboard, usually on a building itself, dedicated to convincing the world that the only beverage to drink was Coca-Cola.
The museum is now located in its second building since 2007 (the original opened in 1990) in the Centennial Olympic Park neighborhood near other attractions; the Georgia Aquarium and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. There are exhibits about Coke's secret formula, a high definition movie about scientists trying to discover the formula, and a tasting room for visitors that allows them to sample the different flavors of Coke sold around the world.
Photo above: Just one sign for Coca-Cola painted on America's buildings over the past hundred years, this one in Indiana, 2016, Carol Highsmith Collection. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Where Is It
The Coca-Cola Museum is located in Pemberton Place, 121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, Georgia. That's downtown, for those not Atlanta initiated, and close to the exact location where Pemberton discovered the secret formula. The College Football Hall of Fame is also nearby.
What is There Now
Eighty-one thousand square meters of exhibits form the basis of the Coca-Cola Museum in areas such as the Loft, the Coca-Cola Theater, the Vault, Milestones of Refreshment, Bottleworks, the 4-D Theater, the Perfect Pause Theater, and the Tasting Lounge.
When are the Sites Open and How Much to Visit
Open most days 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with extended hours on some Fridays and Saturdays. Check with the museum for the hours on the specific date you will be visiting.
$17 Adults, $15 Seniors, $13 Children 3-12, 2 and under Free.
World of Coca-Cola
Within walking distance in Pemberton Place, you have the Georgia Aquarium and the Civil Rights Museum. Just on the other side of the Centennial Olympic Park is the College Football Hall of Fame. Other history sites in the city include Martin Luther King National Historical Park, Ebenezer Baptist Church, High Museum of Art, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. On your way to the city, Civil War sites such as the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefied, as well as Chickamauga and Chattanooga Battlefield are national treasures to visit, as well as newer sites such as the Reseca Battlefield Historic Site, which recounts one battle in the Campaign for Atlanta.