Getting ready for 200 years; The Bradshaw-Chambers Library to bicentennial exhibit

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

VALLEY — The state of Alabama is celebrating a bicentennial in 2019, and Bradshaw-Chambers County Library is planning a major effort to present the county’s role in the state story.

Entitled “Exploring Alabama: 200 Years of Our History,” the display will debut in a special ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and during the noon hour Eddie Lanier will be discussing the history of Alabama textiles followed by the exhibit opening.

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The local exhibit will focus on the county’s extensive Native American period, Chambers County’s founding in the 1830s, its three courthouses, the Civil War period, the textile industry era and famous people with a Chambers County connection such as 19th century humorist Johnson J. Hooper, Old West lawman Pat Garrett, famed boxer Joe Louis Barrow and Fuller Center for Housing founder Millard Fuller.

The traveling state exhibit will also debut at Bradshaw Library on Feb. 13. It’s been touring the state since this past April, and will have made a stop in every Alabama county by Dec. 14, 2019, Alabama’s 200th birthday.

“It will be really special to have the traveling exhibit here when we debut our local exhibit,” said Librarian Mary Hamilton.

The traveling exhibit will be in Valley from Feb. 13-26.

This impressive display blends artistic collages, interactive computer tablets and an audio medley of song and spoken word to tell the story of Alabama — from becoming a territory in 1817 to achieving statehood two years later.

The state exhibit conveys a message of hope in its presentation about the future.

The Alabama Humanities Foundation is coordinating the 19-month-long tour. Decades of experience in doing such presentations and a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit ensures a first-rate presentation.

“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 the Alabama Department of Archives and History’s unparalleled ‘Voices’ exhibit,” said AHF Executive Director Armand DeKeyser. “(This traveling exhibit) gives them that  opportunity.”

DeKeyser said he was particularly pleased local communities are having their own exhibits to display alongside the traveling exhibit.

“It’s amazing that these communities are planning to celebrate their history and the 200 years of Alabama as a state,” he said. “We are honored to be able to be a part of this epic undertaking. We’ve enjoyed keeping track of our exhibit as it makes its way through towns and cities across our state.”

The debut of the exhibits will kick off Bradshaw Library’s Making Alabama lecture series.

Eddie Lanier will be the first speaker on Feb. 13. He will be followed by Dr. Christopher Haveman on Feb. 20. Haveman will be talking about Indian removal in Alabama and Georgia. On Feb. 27th, Dr. Marty Olliff will discuss “Getting Out of the Mud: Alabama’s Good Roads Movement” and on March 13, Dr. Dana Chandler will present “Hidden Places: Archaeology of East Alabama and the Tallapoosa River System.”

The Alabama Humanities Foundation’s mission is to foster learning, understanding and appreciation of Alabama’s people, communities and cultures.

As the independent, state partner of the National Endowment of the Humanities, the AHF supports and offers programs that will enhance the minds and enrich the lives of Alabamians.