"It's a good opportunity for the public who might not come see us otherwise to become aware of the two museums and to get an opportunity to visit at a reduced price, or free price in this case, and to kind of try it out before they buy, so to speak. Try-before-you-buy is one of the things we talk about in opportunities like this," said Seth Hopkins, executive director for GMI and the Booth museum. "So we think if they come and visit one time, they'll want to get more involved. They'll want to come back. They'll know other people they'll want to bring. They may want to become a member.
"We certainly have [seen increased attendance on previous Museum Days]. For instance, last year at Booth, Museum Day was 604 ... compared to an average fall Saturday, [which] is 200 to 300. So it's double to triple the normal number."
In 2010, more than 500,000 people visited Museum Day venues, with more than 1,300 museums and cultural institutions participating in every U.S. state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
On Sept. 24, individuals need to bring a Museum Day Ticket -- which will be emailed to participants after they submit their information online at www.smithsonian.com/museumday/ticket/ -- upon visitation. The website also contains a complete list of participating venues and Museum Day restrictions, such as one ticket covers two people per household.
At the Booth, visitors will be able to view temporary exhibitions in addition to its permanent collection. Located at 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville, the 120,000-square-foot museum opened in 2003, became a Smithsonian affiliate in 2006 and currently houses the largest permanent exhibition of Western art in the U.S.
"We do have three great exhibits that are coming up," said Tara Currier, Booth's director of marketing. "The 'Western [American] Art South of the Sweet Tea Line' is our signature exhibition. This will be the third installment. It was started by our previous curator James Burns. Basically it's just a collaboration. We go to museum vaults and galleries as well as private collectors all throughout the Southeastern United States and basically try to get some of their best and most recognizable name artwork to showcase all in one room.
"So we're going to have a little more [than] 90 paintings and sculpture that range as far as various media and styles, covering about 150 years of history. So people will see some artwork that's reminiscent of what we have in our Enduring Traditions Gallery all the way to some of the most recent and contemporary work that's typically found in our Modern West Gallery."
Along with "Western American Art South of the Sweet Tea Line III," "Stan Natchez: Indian without Reservation" and "Booth Photography Guild Biennial Exhibition" will be available for viewing.
"[Stan Natchez] creates art that really is a satirical look, I guess, as far as his upbringing as a Native American and also tying it in to the world that he lives in today," Currier said. "He's inspired a lot by pop artists Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. So visitors will see very vivid colors and somewhat provocative visual statements in that exhibit.
"The third one is our 'Booth Photography Guild Biennial Exhibition.' Our Booth Photography Guild was founded last October. They meet once a month, really just get together to focus on photography education and they have critique sessions and they'll have guest speakers come in, just anything and everything related to photography. This exhibition will be the first juried exhibition that they have had. So it will be a good representation of the talent that is a part of our photography guild. We'll have about 50 photographs in that exhibition."
Museum patrons also will be able to dive into the area's history on Museum Day at the Bartow History Museum, 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville. Divided into six galleries, the BHM's permanent exhibits include "A Sense of Place," "Bartow Beginnings," "Community Champions," "People at Work," "The Coming War" and "Toward New Horizons."
Through Oct. 7, the museum also will be displaying "In Their Own Words: Letters and Stories from the Civil War." Centered around a collection of letters from a Bartow family during the Civil War, the exhibit also features other stories relating to this time period.
"The letters -- some are from [P.M.B. Young] to his family and some are from his family to him," BHM Registrar Tina Shadden said. "[It shows] how they communicated during the war. A lot of the letters were him trying to calm their fears about him being hurt or killed because he did have two brothers. He lost two brothers in the war. We called the exhibit 'In Their [Own] Words' because it is from their words that you're reliving the experiences that they had and not just his experiences in the war but the family's experience back at home."