Located in Cartersville, Georgia, the Booth Western Art Museum is the second-largest art museum in the state, featuring the largest permanent exhibition in the United States dedicated to the art of the American West. The Booth Western Art Museum opened in August of 2003, occupying an 8,000-square-foot space in downtown Cartersville with the purpose of displaying art and artifacts related to the role of the American West in the development and history of the United States.
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In 2006, the museum became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and in 2008, was invited to join the Museums West Consortium. A major expansion in the fall of 2009 brought an additional 4,000 square feet of exhibit space, making the museum the second-largest art museum in Georgia. The museum has been nominated for a National Medal for Museum and Library Service and is considered a major resource of historic and contemporary art of the American West.
The museum’s exhibits chronicle the history of the American West from an artistic perspective, from the works of its indigenous people to its role in American expansion and through the present-day works of contemporary Western artists. Works by early Western artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Remington are highlighted, although the bulk of the museum’s permanent art collection is comprised of works by living masters and contemporary artists. A variety of museum galleries showcase Western works throughout history, including a Native Hands Gallery, which features more than 200 works by historic and contemporary Western indigenous artists. The flagship American West Gallery is divided into four sections, offering a 100-year overview of traditional Western art along with several galleries detailing the lives of indigenous tribes and their conflict with early American settlers. The lives and experiences of American pioneers are showcased in the Neva and Don Rountree Heading West Gallery, which highlights imagery of stagecoaches and covered wagons. A Cowboy Gallery is dedicated to the legendary heroic figures of Western culture, and a Mythic West Gallery explores depictions of the West in film, television, and print media. The Modern West Gallery features works by contemporary artists such as T.C. Cannon, Allan Houser, Thom Ross, and Donna Howell-Sickles, while underrepresented Western artists, including female and African-American artists, are highlighted in the Faces of the West Gallery.
Several historical galleries include multimedia holdings to showcase the American West’s role in major historical events, including a War is Hell Gallery, featuring paintings of battles and defining moments of the American Civil War. The museum also holds a collection of one-page signed letters from every American president, along with an extensive collection of presidential memorabilia, including portrait photographs by photographer Yousuf Karsh. A two-story Sculpture Court also showcases large-scale works by artists such as Vic Payne, Herb Mignery, and John Coleman.
In the interactive children’s gallery Sagebrush Ranch, a variety of exhibits offer hands-on learning opportunities about the art and history of the American West. A Foreman Rodeo Joe statue greets visitors to the ranch, and a ¾-scale Stagecoach allows children to climb inside and simulate driving on a desert landscape. Interactive play areas include a Bunkhouse, which offers cowboy and cowgirl dress-up opportunities, a Tall Tales Barn, showing vintage Western-themed television programs, and an Artist’s Studio and Puzzle Corral, offering games, puzzles, and Western-themed art activities. Barrel Computer Stations throughout the playspace teach fundamental art principles and offer facts about Western settlers and explorers.
In addition to exhibits, a 60-seat multimedia theater offers showings of the museum’s award-winning short documentary “The American West.” A museum cafe offers light American fare, and a museum store sells books, art, and handmade crafts with Western themes.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to student field trip opportunities tailored to Georgia curriculum standards, the Booth Western Art Museum also offers a variety of family and adult art workshops, hosted by the Booth Artists’ Guild. Workshop classes are offered on the first Tuesday of every month, focusing on multidisciplinary arts, as well as topics related to art marketing and careers in the art industry. The Booth Photography Guild offers open photography instruction and community events to participants of all skill levels, including monthly photography guild meetings, a lecture series, and an annual juried photography exhibit. Writers of all genres, including poetry and songwriting, are also invited to participate in events held by the Booth Writers Guild.
An annual Southeastern Cowboy Gathering is held in March, featuring a gallery walk and exhibition opening, Western-themed music and entertainment, and family-friendly activities. In October, the four-day Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium showcases gunfight reenactments, Native American demonstrations, and a Kids’ Corner with mechanical bull rides and a petting zoo. Periodic artist lectures and book signings are also hosted at the museum throughout the year, along with an annual summer concert series.
501 N Museum Dr, Cartersville, GA 30120, Phone: 770-387-1300