CDC Museum for Science Geeks

If you are a science or healthcare geek, one of the best places to visit in Atlanta is the Center for Disease Control Museum. Officially known as the David J. Sencer Museum, this strikingly modern facil-ity is located in a stunningly beautiful building near the main CDC entrance on Clifton Road.


With three levels, the museum offers rotating new exhibits and a comprehensive history of Public Health and the CDC. Growing out of the 1798 Marine Hospital which served merchant seamen, the Public Health Service evolved to guard the general health of the nation and insure the general good health of im-migrants. In 1946, the CDC was established in downtown Atlanta before its move to the current location following a land grant from Emory University.


The history part of the museum charts the various and multi-faceted programs of the Center with some beautiful and sometimes frightening artifacts like the large iron lung on display. Visitors can learn about the CDC’s [or the Public Health Service] role in programs from polio, smallpox, Legionnaire’s disease, syphilis [and other vd’s], AIDS and ebola, among many others. Also interesting are exhibits showcasing programs to provide fresh drinking water, cut out smoking, reduce “violence as a public health issue,” and even deal-ing with man-made disasters resulting from wars.


While fascinating, science nerds will love other exhibits like the current one [through June 17] called “Places & Spaces: Mapping Science.” Featuring state of the art displays, this exhibit provides an amaz-ing assortment of computer generated maps and charts detailing with almost everything from geologic time lines and Lord of the Rings characters to “ecological footprints,” autism, and even charting mam-mography facilities in urban Atlanta. There is also an interactive computer station for the adventurous to create their own maps.


The Sencer CDC Museum is located at 1600 Clifton Road [across from Emory Pointe] and has free parking and admission. The only real drawback is that it is open only on weekdays, M-F, 9-5 with ex-tended hours on Thursday to 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 404-639-0830 or see There are guided tours for groups, teacher workshops, a disease “detective camp” for high school students and an archival collection for researchers.


–Dick Funderburke

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