Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery

4.7
#5 of 10 in Museums in Montgomery
The Alabama Department of Archives and History is the official repository of archival records for the U.S. state of Alabama. It was created by an act of the Alabama Legislature on February 27, 1901 with a primary mission of collecting and preserving artifacts relating to the history of the state. It was the first publicly funded, independent state archives agency in the United States. It subsequently became a model for the establishment of archives in other states. Today the agency identifies, preserves, and makes accessible records and artifacts significant to the history of the state and serves as the official repository for records created by Alabama's state agencies.The building and exhibitsThe Department of Archives and History was housed in the old Senate cloak room at the Alabama State Capitol after its establishment in 1901. It was then moved to the Capitol's new south wing upon its completion in 1906. A separate building was first conceived of in 1918 by Thomas McAdory Owen, the first director of the Archives. However, funding did not become available until the 1930s, when the next director, Marie Bankhead Owen (wife of Thomas), was able to secure the necessary capital from the Works Progress Administration.The three-story Neoclassical building was built from 1938–40. An east wing was completed in 1970 and a west one in 2005. The west wing added 60000sqft of new space to the building. The original Washington Avenue bronze entrance doors to the building were designed by artist Nathan Glick. They depict eight scenes from Alabama history. Following many years of wear they were relocated to the Ocllo S. Malone Lobby in the new west wing. The first and second floors of the Archives building features walls clad in white Alabama marble.
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Alabama Department of Archives and History Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
166 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • I cannot believe this great, free museum is rated 10 of things to do in Montgomery. The displays show a wonderful history of Alabama history and culture. Do not miss this tremendous collection - plus ...  more »
  • This museum leads you from the native Indian inhabitants; pioneers to the area; racial conflicts; farming; soldiers; professionals, etc. The display of a home from the 1950's reminded me pictures from...  more »
  • This free museum provides a great overview of key periods in Alabama history from the first human arrivals 14,000 years ago, through the Civil Rights years. The multi-media exhibits are very nicely pr...  more »
Google
  • Extensive museum covers Alabama state history without glancing over atrocities. Thoughtfully modern presentation that educates and entertains. You'll easily spend a few hours here.
  • Free museum. Everything you need to learn about Alabama is here! Friendly staff. Gift shop.
  • Nice free museum with fun stuff for kids, in Grandma's Attic.
  • Great place to see artifacts and learn about history.
  • A Beautiful Landmark of a building greets you. You can't just drive by this one. I am going in I said to myself! But Archives? What would I want in the Archives, My family is all from Missouri and Iowa. But I went in anyway! And I am glad I did. The stature of the building, the marble stair cases, the lobby filled with Busts of prominent figures in Alabama history, the pleasant and on so helpful concierge (well he was a guard, but I wish all concierges were as helpful as he was) and the historical displays on the second floor were oh so interesting. I wish I would have had a couple more hours as I can almost bathe in the quality information about the history of this state. I always giggle a bit as it seems to me that every state and town across the south describes the pivotal battle of the Civil War. I wish all these story tellers could get together and figure out where that happened. but I digress. This museum on the second floor will hold ones attention and the docents seem so knowledgeable. I guess I need to know more about the history of Alabama.

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