A Visit to the CDC Museum- Atlanta, GA

CDC Museum 

Last month I headed to Atlanta with the main purpose being to attend the Freddie Awards.

However, I couldn’t just fly there for an awards ceremony. I had to find some things to do in the area. While I’d also have a chance to drag a Delta jet for a good cause, I wanted to explore more of what Atlanta had to offer.

Prior to attending the Freddies, I arranged for a tour of the Waffle House Museum and I have to say that it was pretty awesome!

I then headed out to tour another odd museum, the CDC Museum.

I’m not sure that many of you know that the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention aka the CDC has a museum which is open to the public. Once I read about it I knew that it was a museum that I had to visit.

CDC Museum 

When I pulled into the entrance to the CDC, I had to stop at a security checkpoint to show my ID and have the rental car inspected.

We’re talking open all of the doors, the trunk and hood, have the bottom of the car looked at as well as the two security guards each check my brothers and my IDs separately. After getting past this inspection I was given a visitor parking permit.

CDC Museum 

After parking our car, we made our way into Building 19 which (at the front) is the home to the David J. Spencer CDC Museum!

Once nice part of stopping by this not so typical museum is that the admission is free.

CDC Museum 

Once through the doors, we then had to go through a set of metal detectors before being given our visitor passes allowing us to finally check out the museum.

(As annoying as the entry process sounds, it was actually interesting to experience in some ways…)CDC Museum  CDC Museum 

The museum is made up of parts of two floors. The first floor is home to temporary exhibits. 

We took some time to first check out the exhibit on GYRE??? Can’t say that I ever heard of the term before but I quickly learned that they are “massive, slow rotating whirlpools in which plastic trash accumulate“.

CDC Museum 

The exhibit was a good mix of photos of Gyres in the waters around the world as well as actual objects collected. Some of the plastic objects were displayed as something like art which showed just how much garbage is out there affecting the environment as well as causing harm to animals.

This was definitely an interesting exhibit and something that I’m glad that I got to learn a little about.

We then headed downstairs to the main part of the CDC Museum.
CDC Museum 

There is lots of information and objects on display, all related to the history of the CDC.

The CDC was founded in 1946 by the Public Health Service to do work and research on infectious diseases.

I found it interesting to learn that it was placed in Atlanta since the South had the most cases of Malaria. (I think most of us would expect any major U.S. government agency to have its home in Washington D.C.)
CDC Museum 

The CDC has expanded its responsibilities over the years to not only work with infectious diseases but to also research “occupational health, toxic chemicals, injury, chronic diseases, health statistics and birth defects” according to information at the museum.

The other main piece of information that I took from the visit was that the CDC wasn’t only there to help solve health problems in the United States. The agency also “tirelessly leads the fight against known, new and emerging diseases around the globe“.

CDC Museum 

Some of my favorite items on display was old signage from around the world like these shown here.CDC Museum  CDC Museum 

The museum also has lots of different items on display which are used by the CDC to do their research.
CDC Museum

While there, a somewhat large group was also visiting. From what I could tell, it looked like a group of high school students. They had a chance to go into a conference room and try on the rubber biohazard suits which was pretty neat.

Overall, I enjoyed visiting the CDC museum. I did learn a good amount about the history of the agency but would’ve liked to have learned more about what goes on at the CDC on a day to day basis along with it’s role in helping to rid the world of diseases like the recent Ebola epidemic in Africa.

Find out details about visiting the CDC museum here.

7 thoughts on “A Visit to the CDC Museum- Atlanta, GA

  1. Heidi- I wish I had an answer for you. Maybe you can call to find out? When we went, there was a security area with scanners. Maybe you could leave a bag there with the guards…

    1. Heidi, just call and ask. Lots of official visitors bring their luggage into the CDC compound because they are going directly to the airport afterwards.

  2. Wonder if I can leave my roll on bag in a locker there while I am touring? Does the CDC allow it? Happy to open it for security; just need to go to head to the airport afterwards.

  3. Too bad I didn’t know you were visiting. I work at CDC and would have given you an insider tour!

    1. heavenlyjane, How can an Infection Preventionist from the Midwest seek out an opportunity for an insider tour? I will be there for the SHEA-CDC Decennial in March. Thanks! Brenda IP

      1. If you’re there for a conference, a tour might already be included. Things are probably crazy there right now with coronavirus response action. I retired from there a while ago, so I am out of the loop. If I were still there, I would have been happy to show you around.

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