A meteorite, vintage lunchboxes, and a rare rocket – these are just a few of the interesting museum exhibits here in Alabama. We have so many unique museums here in our great state, and here is a list of 13 you should definitely check out.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Alabama Museum of Natural History
Imagine taking a nap and suddenly a meteorite crashes through the ceiling and hits you. Well, it's possible and it happened to Ann Hodges (in Sylacauga) in late November 1954. She was napping on her couch when all of a sudden a softball-sized rock came crashing through her ceiling, hitting her in her thigh. That meteorite, which is the only known meteorite to hit a human being, is one of the main exhibits at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, located in Smith Hall at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa.
2. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Home to the world's best motorcycle collection, Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is located at: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Birmingham, AL. 35094.
3. Hank Williams Museum
If you're a Hank Williams fan, you'll love how this museum honors the late country music superstar. Thousands of fans come each year to pay tribute to such a talented musical artist. A few of the items you'll get to see in the museum include: his 1952 Baby Blue Cadillac, a horse saddle, cowboy hats, portraits, awards, albums and so much more. The Hank Williams Museum is located in downtown Montgomery.
4. Alabama Historical Radio Museum
Take a tour of this museum and learn all about the different types of radios that people used when they listened to broadcasts during the early 1900s. This museum includes many different radios (representations) and is located at: 600 N. 18th St., Birmingham, AL 35203.
5. Mobile Carnival Museum
The Mobile Carnival Museum highlights the history of Mardi Gras, in Mobile where it all started, and is located at: 355 Government St., Mobile, AL 36602.
6. Bessemer Hall of History Museum
Visitors from all over the world flock to this museum to see one of their top exhibits: Hitler's typewriter. Supposedly, his typewriter was captured by the allies at his mountain hideaway, the "Eagle's Nest," at the end of WWII. Then somehow it ended up in Alabama. Interesting! Bessemer Hall of History Museum is located at: 1905 Alabama Ave., Bessemer, AL 35020.
7. Museum of Wonder
What started out as a taxidermy shop and artifact room, Butch Anthony's Museum of Wonder is now filled with lots of art, artifacts and some very, very strange things. The Museum of Wonder is located at: 41 Poorhouse Road, Seale, AL 36875.
8. Paul W. Bryant Museum
If you're a fan of Alabama football, this museum is an absolute must-see! Here you'll learn all about the history of Alabama football and see many great items focusing on Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, which include: a replica of his office, a Waterford Crystal houndstooth hat commemorating the hat he always wore, and a Daniel Moore painting that was used to create the 32 cent postage stamp. The Paul W. Bryant Museum is located at: 300 Paul W. Bryant Dr., Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.
9. U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Sometimes referred to as "Earth's largest space museum", the U.S. Space & Rocket Center has one of the largest collections of space artifacts and displays. The most popular exhibit is an authentic Saturn V rocket - one of only three in the world. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is located at: One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805.
10. Monroe County Museum
The Monroe County Museum features an exhibit on Harper Lee and her novel "To Kill a Mockingbird." At the end of the exhibit, you'll be able to tour the courtroom that was the inspiration for the courtroom scenes in the film. The courthouse has been restored to its 1930s appearance and is one of the most recognized courtrooms in the U.S. because of the film adaptation of Lee's novel. Monroe County Museum is located at: 31 North Alabama Ave., Monroeville, AL 36460.
11. Tim Hollis' Pop Culture Museum
If you want to be reminded of your childhood, you should definitely check out Tim Hollis' Pop Culture Museum. Tim Hollis, an author and historian, is a huge fan of pop culture, memorabilia and toys. He's collected these type of items for a few decades, and some items from his collection include: a Kentucky Fried Chicken chandelier, vintage lunchboxes, vintage board games, Sears Christmas catalogs and milk cartons. This museum is truly nostalgic! Tours to this museum are free, but because the collection is in Mr. Hollis' home, he requests that you contact him first by email to make a reservation:
12. Old Alabama Town
Old Alabama Town is comprised of authentic 19th and 20th century homes that have been restored and opened to the public as a living history museum. This museum truly reflects the lives of the people who settled and developed central Alabama. Old Town Alabama is located in downtown Montgomery.
13. Foley Train Museum
If you love model train sets, this museum is for you! The Foley Train Museum has several model train setups that will definitely take you back in time. Admission to this museum is free and it's located at: 125 E. Laurel Ave., Foley, AL 36535.
Have you been to a unique museum here in Alabama lately? If you have, what was your favorite exhibit?