By Howard Pousner
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
When Smithsonian magazine launched Museum Day, in which cultural spaces nationwide emulate the Smithsonian Institution’s free admission policy, it seemed novel. Five years later, in a pinched economy, it feels more like a necessity.
On Saturday, nine metro Atlanta museums and historic sites will participate by opening their doors gratis to visitors.
Participating will be the Archibald Smith Plantation Home, Roswell; Barrington Hall, Roswell; Bulloch Hall, Roswell; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Global Health Odyssey Museum, Atlanta; the Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta; the Hammonds House Museum, Atlanta; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Marietta Museum of History; and the Museum of Design Atlanta.
Among the metro participants, the puppetry center offers a nice array of family-friendly options, with its “Puppets: The Power of Wonder” museum show plus three Jim Henson exhibits. Also, three performances of the family series show “The Adventures of the Gingerbread Man” will be half-price; the discounted tickets include free entrance to the center’s Create-A-Puppet Workshop.
For those interested in making a day trip, there are some worthy options, including the Bartow History Museum, the Booth Western Art Museum and the Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum, all in Cartersville; and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Hay House and the Museum of Arts and Sciences, in Macon.
With 1,200 museums in all 50 states registered, Museum Day 2009 is the largest ever. To print out an admission card, good for two people, and see a complete list of participants, go to http:// microsite.smithsonianmag.com/ museumday/admission.html.