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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
160 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • July 19, 2017
    Amazing free place to see a lot of Alabama's famous and history . They sure have a lot of old items that you can touch . You will be there awhile but it doesn't matter they have A/C.  more »
  • June 23, 2017
    The tourist information woman told us to visit this spot. The free museum is on the second floor of the gleaming white Archives building next to the Capitol. There are large staircases, or elevators. ...  more »
  • June 17, 2017
    We were passing through Montgomery, and felt great making a decision to make a stop in the Civil Rights trail....The Archives is open to the public and is free. Their museum has a decent collection of...  more »
Google
  • April 16, 2017
    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.
  • April 17, 2017
    Free museum. Everything you need to learn about Alabama is here! Friendly staff. Gift shop.
  • December 31, 2016
    Nice free museum with fun stuff for kids, in Grandma's Attic.
  • November 22, 2016
    Great place to see artifacts and learn about history.
  • April 5, 2014
    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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