You would not expect a little town in west Georgia - Tallapoosa, population just over 3000 - to have one of the most interesting museums you might ever visit. You could spend 30 minutes here and come away with a memorable impression of some mix of thrift store, taxidermist's back room, highway oddity and grandma's attic, and no one could blame you for that. I saw some 1970s toys such as Connect Four on display, and some portions have a yard sale vibe.
Or you could spend many hours in this 15,000 foot facility and come away feeling that you had barely scratched the surface.
Tallapoloosa itself is an historic railroad and textile town. So when you come across displays of a 1920s era post office, barber shop, dentist's office, drug and soda shop, or bank, the artifacts are genuine and complete. Not because they've been accumulated across wide swaths of time and space, but because they were donated by the actual establishments which thrived there in another time. This small town museum is about as you will get to time travel.
1920s shops are just the start. Native culture is lovingly represented with an entire wing of Cree tapestries, clothing and artifacts. Your time machine will take you further back with prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs painstakingly recreated by a local taxidermist and namesake of Bud Jones Taxidermy.
In fact, another large portion of the museum is dedicated to his ongoing work, with samples of seemingly every bird that has existed in the region, great and small, so exquisite in their lifelike and dynamic poses that art students from the nearby university are known to frequent there to compose their botanical sketches and drawings.
Despite national write-ups by smitten journalists and authors spanning decades, strangely - almost criminally - many from as nearby as Atlanta or even Carrollton just half an hour away - do not know this gem exists. But now you do. Do yourself a favor and pay a visit.
The images below are but an appetizer.
Recreation of Cree Indian hunting bison from horseback
Diatryma, late Paleocene and Eocene epoch bird to 7 feet tall
Recreation of Cree Village in 18th Century at West Georgia Museum, 2018
General store recreation from artifacts, West Georgia Museum
Portion of an extensive antique doll collection in Tallapoosa, GA
American bald eagle among hundreds of other native species in Georgia museum