Two local museums win state awards
by Mark Andrews
Jan 29, 2013 | 1159 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local museums Tellus and the Booth recently were recognized for the efforts of their employees and the quality of their institutions and programs.

Tellus Science Museum received two awards, including institution of the year, at the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries annual conference on Friday Jan. 25.

“There are many great museums in Georgia, and to be selected as the institution of the year is a great honor. This is a great reflection on who we are and what we do,” Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria said in a press release. “Tellus is a team effort. Many people share in this award, and I would like to express my sincere appreciation to our staff, volunteers, board, and members. We are all part of this success.”

Tellus astronomer David Dundee received the lifetime achievement award in recognition of his nearly four decades of work in museums such as Tellus, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Fernbank Science Center.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award,” Dundee said in the release. “I am truly blessed to have had a career doing something I truly love to do.”

Dundee is a two-time president and vice president of GAMG and was awarded the individual museum professional of the year award twice in the past 17 years. He joined Tellus before it opened in 2009 and helped set up observatory and the planetarium, as well as space-based curriculum used in many school programs.

Tellus is a 120,000-square-foot museum located in Cartersville, just off Interstate 75 at exit 293. It features four main galleries: The Weinman Mineral Gallery, The Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion and The Collins Family My Big Backyard. A 120-seat digital planetarium and an observatory with a state-of-the-art 20-inch telescope also are located at Tellus.

The museum is located just off I-75 in northwest Georgia. More information is available at, or by calling 770-606-5700.

The Booth Western Art Museum’s educational program titled “What’s the Story? Connecting Art & Literacy” won the Education Category at the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries. Booth Western Art Museum Education Director Lisa Wheeler accepted the award at the GAMG Awards Luncheon inside the Georgia Museum of Art on Friday.

“We saw a need here at the museum to develop a program for younger students using the artwork to help them develop different language art skills,” Wheeler said.

She said while the program is designed for students from kindergarten to fifth grade, it’s goal is to help educate from an early start by using art and hands-on activities.

“... We wanted our program to specifically reach the K-2 age group and so we had five classroom teachers come in to help the Booth education staff, and we spent a summer working with them and creating a program so that at each grade level students are working with a particular language art skill,” Wheeler said. “For example, the younger grades are learning sequencing skills by working with the artwork [and] there’s one-on-one comparison and contrast.

“The second-grade program is popular; it deals with the difference between tall tales, fairy tales and legends. And our fourth-grade one helps [children] with fact versus opinion, and our-fifth grade one is identifying characters, setting and plot — again using the artwork every time help to bring out those skills.”

A research study began in 2010 to see if such programs would improve student test scores, with local students taking a pre- and post-test before and after taking part in one of the pilot programs.

“We had a graduate student at the University of Georgia compiling that data for us and writing our final report, and based on the study, it indicated the program is successful and students’ literacy skills are enhanced by attending this program at the museum,” Wheeler said.

The program meets Georgia Performance Standards in language arts, social studies and visual arts and feeds students into the museum’s “Writing Through Art” literary program and annual contest for students in grades six through 12.

To learn more about the Booth Western Art Museum, visit, or by calling 770-387-1300.