It might be a long way to travel to see some bling, but it’s not every day that the “most astonishing building in the world” turns 50.
Belgium’s Atomium celebrates the half century mark this summer and to commemorate the occasion the shiny towering structure made of nine giant aluminum-clad spheres linked with steel tubes (its design represents an iron atom magnified 165 billion times) is hosting a party for visitors.
The massive model was built for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels and was originally planned as a temporary attraction. However, when the oddity was embraced by the 42 million or so onlookers that traveled to the World’s Fair (including President Dwight D. Eisenhower and France’s Gen. Charles de Gaulle along with movie stars Sophia Loren, Jane Mansfield and Audrey Hepburn) officials decided to keep it and it has since become one of the best-known landmarks in the Belgium capital.
Two years ago the Atomium underwent a $43 million facelift and it now contains a permanent exhibition of the 1950s, temporary art shows and a gourmet restaurant 335-feet up in the highest sphere. This summer Belgium is marking the anniversary of the architectural wonder with fireworks, concerts, exhibitions and special showings of classic movies of the late 1950s including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless.”
If you can’t make it to Belgium for an education vacation consider a trip to Atlanta, Georgia. That’s where an exhibition featuring more than 130 treasures from the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun and other ancient sites will kick-off a tour of the United States this November.
Curators at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum just announced they will host the exhibit at the Atlanta Civic Center from November through May 22, 2009. The Tut exhibit will then move to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum from June to October 2009.
People who saw “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” when it toured the U.S. from 2005 to 2007 will be happy to know that the new exhibit “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs” will include never before seen treasures of King Tutankhamun and ancient Egyptian royalty.