A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit
Oct. 7 - Oct. 26
Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon. - Fri.; 1 - 3 p.m. Sun
From the pre-historic, ancient world to the rise of European colonizers, the United States, Alabama’s statehood, the Civil War, industrialization, Civil Rights and beyond, Making Alabama will take visitors on journey through Alabama history.
Making Alabama: A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit is an exhibition from The Alabama Humanities Foundation. The traveling exhibit makes its stop in Colbert County at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art from Oct. 7 to 26 as part of its 19-month tour to all 67 of Alabama’s counties. Admission to the museum is free to the public for the duration of Making Alabama.
This impressive display blends artistic collages, interactive computer tablets and an audio medley of song and spoken word to tell the story of Alabama. Organizers say the Alabama Humanities Foundation was a natural choice for coordinating the traveling exhibit with decades of experience through its partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit.
“Just like the Smithsonian, where not everyone has the opportunity to view a Smithsonian exhibit in Washington, not everyone can make it to Montgomery to see Alabama Department of Archives and History’s unparalleled ‘Voices’ exhibit,” said AHF Executive Director Armand DeKeyser. “What we are putting together gives them that opportunity.”
The Tennessee Valley Museum of Art will have exhibitions complimenting Making Alabama, including a selection of photography of Wilson Dam — both its creation and current images of the structure — and works of Alabama artists from The TVMA’s permanent collection. The TVMA’s permanent exhibition of the Martin Petroglyph will continue to be on display at this time.
The TVMA’s Curator of Exhibitions and Education, Ellen Dempsey, said Making Alabama will have eight themed sections, each with interactive touchscreen tablets.
“The way they’ve set it up is very artistic and the sections lend themselves to projects we can do with classes on a field trip or larger groups,” she said. “Making Alabama tackles some important issues, while tying everything together with a narrative of hope for the future.”
Dempsey added that Making Alabama meshes naturally with The TVMA.
“Art and history have so much in common and understanding history is so important for moving forward, so to have a chance to engage with this in a public setting is a great opportunity,” she said. “You’re going to learn new things that you wouldn’t encounter just browsing the Internet. It’s deeper than just the surface level facts and dates. It’s a historical narrative about how we’ve gotten here. It’s important if you’re living in the state of Alabama to know where we’re coming from so we can move forward."
The exhibit will be supplimented by a series of gallery talks.
- Dr. Lynne Rieff, Director of Center of Women’s Studies and Professor of History at UNA will give present a gallery talk “Highlighting Alabama Women, 1819-2019” during the opening at 2 p.m., Oct. 7.
- John Blackwell, a retired TVA employee will give a talk at 2 p.m., Oct. 14 titled "Myths and Legends of Wilson Dam."
- Retired Yale music professor Willie Ruff will give a presentation about his life called "Willie Ruff: Music's Ambassador" at 6 p.m., Oct. 18.
- Dolores Hydock will present her story “Footprints on the Sky: Voices from Chandler Mountain,” a story that blends Alabama history, folklore and storytelling. She will be presenting at the Making Alabama exhibit at 2 p.m., Sunday Oct. 21.