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Best Local History & Culture in Birmingham

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Located at 16th Street North across the street from Kelly Ingram Park and the 16th Street Baptist Church, this fascinating gallery tells the story of Birmingham's tragic and triumphant contributions to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. This state-of-the-art facility utilizes multimedia presentations, photographs and other artifacts to document the African American struggle for racial equality, and relates this history to other human rights struggles around the world. Admission is free on Sundays.

Alabama's sons and daughters who made their marks in sports history are honored here. Boxing great Joe Louis, baseball hero Willie Mays, track star Jessie Owens and Crimson Tide coach Paul Bear Bryant are just a few of those featured at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Sports memorabilia and vintage equipment are also on display in the museum. The gleaming modern Hall of Fame structure is adjacent to the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center.

Located on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the Paul W. Bryant Museum is named after the legendary "Bear" Bryant, arguably the most famous college football coach in American history. In this part of the country, college football is as important as eating and breathing. If you're not lucky enough to go to a game on campus, this museum is the next best thing. State-of-the-art multimedia displays are combined with artifacts and documents to tell the colorful story of college football in Alabama. The museum is open every day except major winter holidays.

The beautiful Iron and Steel Museum of Alabama, as the name suggests, exhibits a great demonstration of how iron was formed during the Civil War. Popularly known as the Tannehill Museum, The museum is located in Tannehill Ironworks Historical Park and features iron-making technology, machines, tools and all the products used during ancient times. The museum also exhibits a collection of steam engines, war materials and more.

Based on the Greek god Vulcan, the god's statue is the tallest cast iron statue in the world in the center of Birmingham’s Vulcan Park & Museum, which features educational tours and a soaring observation deck overlooking the city. The park also allows special events including marriages and other cultural events.

The very genesis of Birmingham, Sloss Furnaces were one of the pioneers in the process of smelting pig iron. Established in 1882, it is this iron industry that prompted the city of Birmingham to grow around it. Over the years, the machinery has gathered abundant rust and experience, both of which tell stirring tales of the industry's glorious heyday. Proclaimed a National Historic Landmark, this antiquated site is an escape into the ancient industrial processes of the country. The site was restored in 1983, and, in addition to the impressive furnaces, there is an industrial museum, a sculpture garden, and a park which lend deeper insights into the history and legacy of Sloss Furnaces. The furnaces also play host to concerts, festivals, events, and activities.

Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, the city's only antebellum mansion, offers tours featuring its collection of 19th-century furniture and decorative arts. The building is a grand example of the Greek Revival architecture that was prominent in the 1840s. A tearoom is available, and the gardens are a beautiful site and backdrop for weddings and other special events. Call ahead for admission details.

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