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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.
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.
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.
In ancient mythology, Vulcan was ugly. So ugly, that he was kicked out of his home on Mount Olympus and forced to become a blacksmith among the common people with a volcano as his forge. But he eventually married Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, so either he wasn’t really that ugly or he just had a really good sense of humor. Today, the god stands as 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.