State History
Learn about the history of Alabama and find fun and interesting things to do and see all across Alabama. We've also found the best books, guides, websites, and other resources to make your study of Alabama fun and educational.
Resources
Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson Living History Events
Wetumpka, AL
Events include monthly living history programs (the French period and the early American period), monthly meetings of the Historic Blacksmiths, French and Indian War Encampment (held annually in April and re-enacts the time period of the war between the French and the British), Alabama Frontier Days (held annually in November and depicts life on the frontier from 1717 to 1820).
Things to See & Do in Alabama
Fort Gaines Historic Site
Tour Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, with its history of French, British, and Spanish control. Eventually the Fort played an important part in the Civil War during the Battle of Mobile Bay, one of the war's most notable naval conficts. The Fort was also used during World Wars I and II.
Alabama Veteran's Museum & Archives
Located in Athens, the Alabama Veteran's Museum was established to preserve the memories of our veterans by creating a permanent resting place for artifacts and memorabilia. Artifacts from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, W.W.I , W.W.II, Korean, Viet Nam, Desert Storm and the present "Operation Enduring Freedom" are displayed. The library has close to 1000 books and 160 videos, with the majority available for loan.
Isabel Anderson Comer Museum and Arts Center
Located in Sylacauga, the Museum offers special art exhibits, sculpture, the Native Sons Gallery, historical photgraphs, historical displays, and classes.
Alabama Museum of Natural History
The Alabama Museum of Natural History, located in Smith Hall, the first building to be built on the University of Alabama campus in the twentieth century, is one of the finest excaples of Classical Revival architecture in the region. Experience the natural diversity of Alabama through exhibits from the Age of Dinosaurs, the Coal Age, and the Ice Age. View extensive collections of geology, zoology, mineralogy, paleontology, ethnology, history, and photography. Explore the Alabama Museum of Natural History housed in historic Smith Hall, one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the region. See the Hodges meteorite, the only meteorite know to have struck a human. The Museum is located on The University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park is located near Daviston. Learn about the history of the final battle of the Creek War of 1813-14, part of the War of 1812, in which Andrew Jackson and an army of 3,300 men consisting of Tennessee militia, United States regulars and both Cherokee and Lower Creek allies attacked Chief Menawa and 1,000 Upper Creek or Red Stick warriors fortified in the "horseshoe" bend of the Tallapoosa River. This 2,040-acre park preserves the site of the battle.
Aliceville Museum
The Aliceville Museum in located in downtown Aliceville and features an abundance of mementos from Camp Aliceville, a POW camp for German prisoners of World War II. The museum has permanent exhibits on Camp Aliceville, 1942-1945, the Alice Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 1910-1978, Pickens County veterans of all wars, and Pickens County's agricultural history.
Russell Cave National Monument
For thousands of years bands of prehistoric Indians came to the area we know today as Russell Cave. The cave provided a shelter. The surrounding forest provided food, tools, and fuel for their fires. Occupation of the cave shelter continued from the earliest known people to inhabit the southeastern United States, until the time of European explorers. The story of the inhabitants of Russell Cave is one of adaptation and survival. These people left behind clues to their way of life. These clues help us to have a better understanding of the people who have gone through the mists of time. Russell Cave National Monument is located near Bridgeport.
Alabama Mining Museum
The Alabama Mining Museum, designated by the State Legislature as the official State Coal Mining Museum, focuses primarily on mining from 1890 to 1940 when mining became an important industrial force in the United States. The Museum tells the technological, social, and human stories involved in Alabama's development into one of the most important coal mining regions in the United States.
Gadsden Center for Cultural Arts
The Center is a multi-purpose facility that includes Imagination Place (a children's museum), three visual art galleries, a 72 foot model of 1948 Gadsden with working trains, an art studio, and two performance halls which are home to the Etowah Youth Orchestras and the Kings of Swing and the Gadsden Symphony. The Center also has a full service restaurant. Special programs include reservation accepted guided and narrated tours, field trips, planetarium shows, special children's activities, concerts, dinner theater, and classes.
Moundville Archaeological Park
Eight hundred years ago, Moundville was the largest city in North America. Visit the site of this ancient city and tour the Jone Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts and interpretive exhibits providing information on more than 60 years of archaeological excavations and investigations. The theater offers a series of videos on Moundville and the history of Southeastern Indians. There is also a nature trail, Indian Village and Crafts Pavilion, and more. The site and facilties are located in Tuscaloosa.
Pond Spring, The General Joe Wheeler Plantation
Pond Spring was the post-Civil War home of Gen. Joseph Wheeler, a Confederate major general, a U.S. congressman, and a Spanish-American War general. The 50-acre site includes a dogtrot log house built around 1818, a circa 1830 Federal-style house, the 1870s Wheeler house, eight farm-related outbuildings, two family cemeteries, an African-American cemetery, a small Indian mound, a pond, a boxwood garden, and other garden areas. Staff members lead tours of the Wheeler House five days a week; grounds and other buildings are also open.
Aldrich Coal Mine Museum
Housed in the "Company Store" of the former Montevallo Coal Mining Company in Aldrich, Alabama and Historic Farrington Hall. See and learn of local history as well as the coal mining industry as it was back then...See the only monument in Alabama dedicated to all coal miners!
Old Cahawba Archaeological Park
Learn of the rise and fall of Alabama's first state capital and most famous ghost town.
Huntsville Depot and Museum
Hear the rattle of the tracks and the engineer’s whistle as you experience life on the rails in 1860. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Depot served as the local passenger house & the corporate offices for the eastern division of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. An active passenger station until 1968, the original depot building now stands as a symbol of Huntsville’s transportation history and city growth.
Scottsboro - Jackson Heritage Center
Historical and cultural museum dedicated to presenting and preserving the history of Jackson County. Focuses on the history of the area from the Paelo-Indian era, 12,000 years ago, through the 1930's. The museum consists of the 1880 ante-bellum Brown-Proctor house; the pioneer village, composed of authentic buildings, named "Sagetown;" and the 1868 Jackson County Courthouse. The museum also offers genealogical research, special exhibits, special events and festivals. Special events include: art exhibits, musical performances, theatrical performances and heritage festivals.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway commemorates an ancient trail that connected southern portions of the Mississippi River to salt licks in today’s central Tennessee. Over the centuries, the Choctaw, Chickasaw and other American Indians left their marks on the Trace. The Natchez Trace experienced its heaviest use from 1785 to 1820 by the “Kaintuck” boatmen that floated the Ohio and Miss. Rivers to markets in Natchez and New Orleans. They sold their cargo and boats and began the trek back north on foot to Nashville and points beyond. Today, visitors can experience this All-American Road through hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping. The Natchez Trace Parkway occupies areas in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennesee.
Burritt on the Mountain
Located outside of Huntsville, Burritt on the Mountain is a living history museum, showcasing aspects of farm life from 1850 and 1900. Living history interpreters, dressed in period clothing, recreate the diversity of farm life allowing you to become involved through lively conversation, demonstration, and hands-on activities. Also features the Burritt Mansion and many nature trails.
Alabama Department of Archives & History
Research your ancestors, look up historical documents, or learn more about Alabama history at the Alabama Department of Archives & History located in Montgomery.
Baldwin County Heritage Museum
Baldwin County Heritage Museum takes a look at Baldwin County history from 1900 to 1950. Explore the importance of agriculture and ethnic diversity in its settlement. The museum features a large hall displaying farm machinery, vehicles, and tools and a smaller gallery for exhibits on everyday life in the county. Collections include documents, photographs, old buildings, farm machinery and vehicles, tools, utensils, household and mercantile furnishings, and clothing.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding and appreciation for the significance of civil rights developments in Birmingham with an increasing emphasis on the international struggle for universal human rights. BCRI documents the struggle of African-American citizens in Birmingham to become full participants in the city's government and business community.
Alabama Judicial Department Museum
Located in downtown Montgomery, the Museum includes several areas featuring unique architecture, historical displays, and art galleries. Also offers guided tours of the Alabama Judicial Building, in which you will learn the difference between the trial courts and the appellate courts, and how a case is handled as it moves through the judicial system, ending with the Alabama Supreme Court. You will also learn about the Alabama appellate courts' rich history.
Bellingrath Gardens & Home
The original 60 acres of the Bellingrath Gardens & Home were purchased by Walter Bellingrath in 1917 upon the advice of his physician. Dr. P. D. McGehee advised his patient to learn how to play and told him to buy the fishing camp he had been admiring. The camp consisted of three dilapidated houses and an overgrown jungle. Mr. Bellingrath reworked the cabins and began clearing the paths and was able to have his first house party here in December of 1918. The gardens were eventually opened to the public. Stroll the gardens, view the antiques in the house, or take a river cruise.
American Village Citizenship Trust
The mission of The American Village Citizenship Trust is to strengthen and renew the foundations of American liberty and self-government through citizenship education. Join costumed historical interpreters as a Nation is born and a Constitution is framed. Learn how the words "We the People" have come to include all Americans. Explore the historically-inspired buildings of The American Village, including Washington Hall which is patterned after George Washington's historic Mount Vernon. Stroll the Village's Constitution Green and Southern Living Colonial Gardens. Experience Houdon's masterful statue of Washington, the Alabama Power Voting Experience, the Rising Sun Chair, the President's Oval Office, and other engaging exhibits. The American Village is located about 30 minutes south of Birmingham in Montevallo.
Fort Toulouse / Fort Jackson
This historic park features Fort Toulouse, a re-creation of the last French fort; Fort Jackson, built on the site of the original French fort; recreated Creek Indian houses; a visitor center; Mississippian Mound; the William Bartram Nature Trail; and much more! There are monthly living history programs and an annual French and Indian War Emcampment.
Alabama Constitution Village
Hear the whir of the spinning wheel… smell the enticing aroma of freshly baked bread being prepared over an open fire… turn the great wheel lathe in the cabinetmaker’s shop… and visit with villagers busy with their daily tasks, seemingly unaware that nearly two centuries have come and gone. Forty-four delegates of the constitutional convention gathered here in a vacant cabinet shop on July 5, 1819, to organize Alabama as the 22nd state. John Boardman’s print shop, Clement Comer Clay’s law office, the Federal Land Surveyor’s office, a post office and sheriff Stephen Neal’s residence surround that cabinet shop. Today, the shade trees watch over a proud living village that captures Alabama’s history and spirit. Constitution Village is a unique and unforgettable journey into Alabama’s past.
Guntersville Museum and Cultural Center
Opened in October, 1993, the museum features a TVA exhibit, Indian Room, and River Room which focus on topics relating to local history. Future exhibits will include a War room.
Teaching Tips & Ideas
Knowledge Quest
Knowledge Quest offers historical outline maps and timelines designed for the interactive study of world history and geography.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: History
A look at teaching history across several grades using the classical method of education and a rotation of history every four years.
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