One of the Columbus Museum’s most fascinating finds isn’t surrounded by a frame or resting in a display case. In fact, you might miss it altogether if you don’t know where to look. But a new exhibition spotlights the museum’s “secret garden” and the businessman/philanthropist who brought it to the city.
“Center for Culture: The Bradley Property and the Olmsted Garden” is a special exhibition on display through August 11 in the museum’s History Gallery. Photos, documents, artifacts and videos trace the history of the expansive Wynnton tract that W.C. Bradley once called home. Mr. Bradley commissioned the Olmsted brothers, sons of landscape architecture pioneer Frederick Law Olmsted, to create a garden that was completed in 1928. After his death in 1947, W.C. Bradley’s family donated the house, known as Sunset Terrace, along with the garden and adjacent land to the city of Columbus for cultural and educational use. Six years later, Sunset Terrace became the nucleus for today’s Columbus Museum. In 1991, museum supporters and volunteers teamed up to fully renovate the Olmsted Garden.
A trip to the Louvre wouldn’t be complete without paying a call on the Mona Lisa. After visiting the exhibition, walk behind the museum and experience the garden’s aesthetic charm for yourself. The distinctive mix of plants and foliage, accentuated by vistas, ravines, waterfalls and fountains create a serene atmosphere that turns brisk walks into slow, relaxing strolls. You may find that one tour just isn’t enough, and that’s okay too. Museum and garden admission are free (donations are accepted). The site’s convenient Midtown location makes it perfect for a family excursion or taking an unscheduled break from the rush-hour hustle.
Most of the main attractions in Columbus, like the Riverwalk or the Civic Center, are easy to spot. The Columbus Museum, second-largest of its type in Georgia, also occupies a prominent perch along one of the city’s busiest roads. But the impressive exterior only tells part of the story. Step inside for the rest, then go around back and take in the view. It’s close. It’s free. And it’s quality time well spent. To learn more, visit the Columbus Museum website or call 706-748-2562.