Moundville Archaeological Park is celebrating its annual Native American Festival this weekend, and if you’re looking for something exciting and unique to do with the whole family in our area, this is it. The four-day event, which begins on Oct. 8, is one of the premiere tourism events in the state of Alabama, drawing thousands to the Park in Moundville each and every year.
Visitors to this year’s Moundville Native American Festival can enjoy performances, browse wonderful arts and crafts displays and watch great demonstrations designed to entertain and educate everyone about the rich culture and heritage of Southeastern Indians. Children are invited to get hands-on by playing native games and making crafts in the special Children's area.
“Moundville Archaeological Park is undoubtedly the most important prehistoric site in Alabama,” said Betsy Irwin, education outreach coordinator for the park. “The massive amount of labor and skill involved in leveling the plaza and constructing the mounds reflects the sophistication of the ancient people who once lived here. Less than 15 percent of the site has been excavated, making Moundville the best preserved site of its kind.”
One of the highlights of any visit to Moundville Archaeological Park is the University of Alabama’s Jones Museum.
“This is very important to Native Americans, many of whom consider these mounds to be sacred,” Irwin said. “In close consultation with Southeastern Indian tribes, we developed the Jones Museum exhibits to reflect their culture from the past as accurately as possible. Moundville and the Jones Archaeological Museum are both treasures that belong to everyone.”
Festival admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children.
The Festival will take place October 8 and 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and October 10 and 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For more information on the Moundville Archaeological Park, including more information about the 2014 Moundville Native American Festival, visit www.moundville.ua.edu
Photo: Jeff Perrigin
Article sponsored by Trade Partners Exchange.
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By Tori Linville
Though there are museums, war monuments and even reenactments, a certain sense of history can only be found in the way people lived during their time periods. Historical homes provide an insight into cultural influences, every day lives and more. If you’re looking for a new way to experience the past, we’ve found some historical homes that are worth a visit.
A.M. Brown House
Constructed for African-American physician Arthur McKimmon Brown in 1906, the A.M. Brown House sits on 4th Terrace North in the Smithfield neighborhood. The Craftsman style cottage was designed by Wallace A. Rayfield and still has the physician’s original furnishings. Owned by the Birmingham Art Club and the A.M. Brown Memorial Community Center, the house is open by appointment. For more information, call 323-3010.
Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens
Built by one of the ten founders of Birmingham, Judge William S. Mudd, the Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens now serves as a historical landmark for people to experience. The house was originally called “The Grove.” It is the only remaining antebellum mansion remaining in Birmingham and was used as a headquarters for Civil War General James Wilson. It was in The Grove that Wilson planned to destroy the Confederacy’s iron furnaces along with the military school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Located on Cotton Avenue, the home is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 780-5656 for more information.
Samuel Ullman-Morris Newfield House
Samuel Ullman was a German immigrant known as a civic leader in early Birmingham. He argued for education rights for women, labor reform and more. Ullman wrote the famous poem “Youth” that has remained popular, especially in Japan. Birmingham and Japanese citizens raised money to restore the home to honor Ullman. The house sits on 15th Avenue and is open by appointment. Call 934-5634 for more.
Visit bhistorical.org to find out about other historical homes in the Birmingham area.
Located in the center of The University of Alabama’s campus, the Gorgas House is still a gathering place centuries after its heyday. First serving as a dining hall for university students in 1828, the house became a home to Josiah Gorgas after the Civil War. Gorgas was the seventh president of the university and was married to Alabama governor John Gayle’s daughter, Amelia. For tours and rental information, call 348-5906.
Serving now as the home of the Murphy African American Museum on Bryant Drive, the Murphy-Collins House was built by Tuscaloosa’s first licensed black mortician, Will J. Murphy in the early 1920s. During construction, the house used scraps like window sills from the old state capitol building that burned in 1923, just blocks away. The museum “focuses on the lifestyle of affluent blacks during the early 1900s,” according to the house’s webpage. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. For tours by appointment, call 758-2861.
Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion
Sitting on Greensboro Avenue, the mansion was under construction from 1859 to 1862. It was to serve as a house for Senator Robert Jemison Jr. and was incomplete at the beginning of the Civil War. The home had technological advances such as gas for lighting. It was the first house in Tuscaloosa to have a fully plumbed bathroom. The mansion was used as the city library for a time and is now owned by the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society and the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa. The Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion is open for weddings, parties and more. Admission is free to the public. For more information, call 758-2906 or visit jemisonmansion.com.
To find out more about Tuscaloosa’s heritage and its historical homes, visit historictuscaloosa.org.
The Conde-Charlotte Museum House
Built by Johnathan Kirkbride and his wife in 1850, the Conde-Charlotte Museum House is located on Theatre Street. The house features five flags above its door to represent the five powers that controlled Mobile in its past. Period furniture is in the home’s rooms and Fort Conde is right next door. In the house’s backyard garden, remnants from the old city jail can still be seen. The museum house is owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Alabama. It is open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Oakleigh Historic Mansion
Located on Oakleigh Place, Oakleigh Historic Mansion is the official period house of Mobile. It was originally built as a “gentleman’s escape” and features Greek Revival Villa style. The mansion has one of Mobile’s last detached kitchens and servants quarters. The Cook’s House renovations at the back of the mansion’s property were scheduled to be complete as of August 2013.
The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
The mansion was built for Judge John Bragg in 1855. The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion is just outside of downtown Mobile and features the typical Greek Revival architecture that came with antebellum homes. The home was vacant for 15 years before becoming a museum and still holds furniture pieces that are original to the home. It is the only historical home in Mobile equipped with an elevator. The mansion is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
To find out more information on Mobile historical homes, visit alabama.travel.
Article sponsored by Morning Pointe.
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Instead of sweating in the summer heat, local museums offer an air conditioned way to stimulate the brain. Museums all throughout Alabama have many features to offer and some even serve lunch after taking in all there is to see. We’ve got a list of museums just ready and waiting for you to visit. Get to know about them here!
The Birmingham Museum of Art presents an acclaimed exhibition of historic murals by renowned African American artist Hale Woodruff. Rising Up: Hale Woodruff's Murals at Talladega College has toured the United States for the past three years and will be on display in Birmingham from June 13 to September 6, 2015.
Organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, in collaboration with Talladega College in Alabama, the exhibition features six large-scale murals – two are 20 feet wide -- depicting landmark events in the rise of blacks from slavery to freedom. Commissioned in 1938, to both commemorate the 1867 founding of Talladega College and celebrate its success as one of the nation’s first all-black colleges, the murals had been on continuous view at the college since their installation in the lobby of Savery Library in1939 and 1942. In 2011, the High Museum of Art and Talladega College began an initiative to research, conserve, and tour the murals nationally for the first time.
“We are happy to welcome home to Alabama Hale Woodruff's revered mural series for Talladega College. The exhibition not only represents what is arguably the strongest work of one of the greatest muralists in American art, but also offers a riveting visual history of important events in the struggle for freedom and equality. Visitors are sure to be captivated by the intensity of Woodruff's color, form, and narrative, which is at once deeply compelling and highly accessible. Roberta Smith of the New York Times perhaps said it best when she declared that, 'Each is a one act play unto itself.'” says Graham C. Boettcher, Chief Curator and William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Arranged in two sets of three, the murals vibrantly illustrate heroic efforts to resist slavery as well as significant moments in the history of Talladega College, which opened in 1867 to serve the educational needs of a new population of freed slaves.
The first set of murals features The Mutiny On The Amistad, depicting the uprising on the West African slave ship La Amistad; The Trial of the Amistad Captives, detailing the court proceedings that followed the mutiny; and The Repatriation of the Freed Captives, portraying their subsequent freedom and return to Africa.. The companion murals ‒The Underground Railroad, The Building of Savery Library and Opening Day at Talladega College ‒ deal with the passage to freedom for slaves prior to the Civil War, and the educational opportunities afforded to freed slaves with the founding of Talladega College.
Additionally, Rising Up explores Woodruff’s impact on the arts and opportunities he provided for artists of color in his role as the first chair of the newly established art department of Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). To that end, the exhibition includes 24 supplemental works, which span Woodruff's lengthy career, such as studies of the Talladega murals, smaller-scale paintings, and linocut prints. Two works from the Birmingham Museum of Art’s permanent collection will also be on display.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, which includes essays on the artist, the murals, Talladega College, and American mural painting in the decades surrounding the Talladega project. A descriptive photo essay on the findings of the conservation work is featured. After the tour concludes, the murals will return to Talladega College.
“During my tenure at Talladega College, I have met many individuals who care deeply about these great works of art and are dedicated to their preservation. We are proud to make possible the conservation of these murals through this exhibition, and it is a real pleasure to share our treasures,” said Billy C. Hawkins, Ph.D., President of Talladega College.
Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, in collaboration with Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama. The exhibition is presented locally by Protective Life Corporation and Regions Bank with support from the City of Birmingham and McDonald’s of Central Alabama.
Hale Aspacio Woodruff
Hale Aspacio Woodruff (1900–1980) was born in Cairo, Ill. He studied art at both the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and the Fogg Museum of Harvard University. Woodruff contributed to the development of African American art, not only as an artist, but also as a distinguished arts educator.
Woodruff’s first mural project was in collaboration with Wilmer Jennings in 1934. The four-panel mural, titled The Negro in Modern American Life: Agriculture and Rural Life; Literature, Music, and Art, was part of a public works project and a teaching project that involved both Woodruff’s students and a local junior high school. In 1935, Woodruff worked on Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals for the Atlanta School of Social Work.
Between 1931 and 1946, Woodruff served as the first chair of the newly established art department of Atlanta University. During the summer of 1936, he studied mural painting in Mexico under the mentorship of Diego Rivera. In 1946, he became a teacher at New York University, where he taught art for more than 20 years until his retirement in 1968. During the mid-1960s Woodruff and fellow artist Romare Bearden were instrumental in starting the Spiral Group, a collaboration of African American artists working in New York. The Studio Museum in Harlem presented a retrospective of his work titled “Hale Woodruff: 50 Years of His Art” in 1979. The exhibition Hale Woodruff, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, and the Academy was at the Atlanta-based Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in 2007.
About the Birmingham Museum of Art: Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art has one of the finest collections in the Southeast. More than 27,000 objects displayed and housed within the Museum represent a rich panorama of cultures, including Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian, and Native American. Highlights include the Museum’s collection of Asian art, Vietnamese ceramics, the Kress collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the late 13th century to the 1750s, and the Museum’s world-renowned collection of Wedgwood, the largest outside of England.