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Alabama Bicentennial Exhibit visits Elba

Members of the Elba and Coffee County communities are now enjoying the Alabama Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit presented by the Humanities Foundation.

The exhibit made its debut in Coffee County July 2 at the National Security Conference Center in Elba. Since its opening, people of all ages have come to soak in the information and artifacts the exhibit presents.

The exhibit displays 200 years of Alabama history and beyond. This impressive display blends artistic collages, interactive computer tablets and audios of song and spoken word to tell the story of Alabama. The story covers state history from becoming a territory all the way to achieving statehood. It also conveys a message of “Hope” in its presentation about the future.

In April, the exhibit began its 19-month tour, traveling to all 67 of Alabama’s counties. Four exhibits have been built, and they will travel the state concurrently so that all counties will be able to share the experience.

Several Coffee County dignitaries and officials gathered for a ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the Bicentennial exhibit in Elba. Elba Mayor Mickey Murdock was present at the grand opening. He said, “It’s very exciting that the people of Elba will have a first-hand opportunity to enjoy this wonderful exhibit. We get to learn about our state, and we will even be able to learn more about our county. I personally am excited because I’m a big history fan.”

After the ceremony, those present were privileged to walk around and get a first look. Many walked around and read about Rosa Parks, U.S. Congressman William B. Bankhead and other important figures in state history.

Children gazed at a glass case holding uniforms and artifacts of U.S. military veterans from World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War.

Sandy Bynum, president of the Elba Chamber of Commerce, organized the Alabama Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit stop here. Bynum said, “It took team effort.  Some heavy equipment and a lot of organizing was needed. I’m glad we finally got it ready, and I just really hope everyone loves it. It’s obviously very interesting for adults, but I really think the children will love it, too!”

She added, “It’s sound, computer screens, its free, and it’s a great example of Alabama history. This is Coffee County’s time to show it off.”

I was also able to admire the exhibit myself. It was truly something special. The opportunity to learn more about and appreciate the state I have lived in most of my life was wonderful. I looked at the soldiers’ uniforms on the display and imagined them wearing it here in Coffee County and while in battle. It made me take a step back and appreciate the freedom to enjoy being in the presence of the wonderful community that is Elba.

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