When you enter the Safe House Black History Museum for the first time, history seems very near, to still be breathing, due to the intimacy of the space, the historical artifacts, and the personal remembrances and testimonies of the tour guides. The shotgun-style house was turned into a museum in 2002 and ever since it has been educating visitors from across the United States and abroad.
Moundville Archaeological Park is unquestionably one of the most fascinating historical sites in our state. Wherever you walk within the 325 acres that make up the park you are traversing history. Moundville opened for visitors in May of 1939 and draws on average 40,000 visitors every year, all of whom undoubtedly leave with an enriched understanding of Native American culture.
Montevallo holds a special place in the hearts of a few members of the Alabama Heritage team. When I was earning my teaching certification, I traveled down Highway 82 twice a week to take classes in the education department. Donna Baker actually began her collegiate studies at Montevallo before transferring to Auburn. Our team decided to visit Montevallo the campus of “Unconventional Wisdom” and the town on its latest field trip.
The Olmsted Brothers—of the landscape architecture firm famous for designing New York’s Central Park, Atlanta’s Ponce de Leon Avenue parks, and the grounds of Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina—also developed the first plan for the Montevallo campus. Their basic design ideas are still followed. One of the historic places we enjoyed was the Edmund King House built in 1823. At one point used for classrooms and an infirmary, this residential home is now used for guests who visit the campus. King was a planter and businessman who financed the earliest ironworks in the area around 1820.
When I first started working at Alabama Heritage in 2012, I was told our team would take office “field trips” throughout the year. Once a quarter was the main goal, and sometimes it would only be twice a year, but the point was to get the Alabama Heritage team out of the office—away from computers, the mail, and phones—and actually visit the places written about within the pages of our print magazine. We have taken several trips just on our own, exploring places within a two-hour radius of our home offices in Tuscaloosa. Some trips have included folks from around the state who offered to be our tour guides. No matter where we end up, our day trip is usually chocked full of fascinating stories, interesting artifacts, lots of laughter, and great food.
Alabama Heritage BLOG
At Alabama Heritage, we owe many of our successes and smooth operations to our fabulous student interns. We hope that with this blog--written mostly by our interns as well as history students from UAB and a few from our own editors--our readers will have an opportunity to get to know the students who bring so much to the table with their enthusiasm, hard work, and expertise!
If you're interested in our internship program, check out the details here.