Category Archives: museums

Art museum holds Community Chat Thursday evening to discuss its future

birminghammuseumonasThursday evening the Birmingham Museum of Art will bring a public feedback event to Ona’s Music Room in Lakeview’s Pepper Place as part of an effort to plan the institution’s future. The gathering starts at 7 p.m. with it most likely ending before a jazz performance scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. Those in attendance will be rewarded with free beer and an opportunity to participate in the public input portion of an information gathering process with potentially significant effects on what’s becoming a culturally focused section of the city.

The gathering is being done in conjunction with a feasibility study undertaken by the museum and wHY Architecture, a firm with offices in Los Angeles, CA and Louisville, KY.  They were awarded the project after an RFP process slightly delayed by the unexpected effects of last winter’s late January snowfall. wHY has already started conducting focus groups, online surveys, and additional community feedback events to learn more about what the community may want to see from the museum going forward in terms of both programming and physical space.  The museum has found ways to raise awareness about current community outreach via a section on their website highlighting those efforts.

According to an email from the museum’s director of marketing and communications, Cate McCusker Boehm, “the feasibility study will produce options for potential renovations and expansion of the Museum on its current footprint.”

A Birmingham Christmas tradition in photos

The Arlington House

One of the coolest things to do around Christmas here in Birmingham is to visit the Arlington House on Cotton Avenue on the Birmingham’s West Side. The house is a Greek Revival style Antebellum era mansion currently owned and operated by the City of Birmingham. The house and its beautiful grounds were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Each year the Arlington house hosts a Christmas tour day where you and your family can tour the house and enjoy free hors d’oeuvres and hot cider in the tea room while watching old school Christmas entertainment and music. This year the entertainment was a trio of harmonica players. These guys played some great traditional pop standards and Christmas songs as a myriad of guests looked on. NOTE: Check out the rest of the images in The Gallery to see for yourself.

After that you can self tour the grounds and there are a few local historians ready to give you details about the rich history of the house and of the Elyton area.

Arlington has a gift shop and also accepts donations all of which go towards the upkeep of the property as well as hosting free events like this one (that are open to the public).

If you can’t make it this year, be sure to put in on your calendar for next year. It’s well worth it to see some of Birmingham’s history preserved here.

Photos: Josh Self/Flickr

BCRI earns national award for community service

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was recently recognized as a recipient of the 2007 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for the extraordinary public service among libraries and museums, awarded by federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The award, formerly known as the National Award, it includes a $10,000 award and a shiny new medal to recognize “their extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions.”

BCRI was one of ten institutions to receive the 2007 award; nominations for the 2008 are already being accepted (they’re due in February).

Art on the Rocks = Toga Party this August

Toga on a VespaThat’s the plan for the August edition of the popular social event. Those that attend the August 24th event in a toga will have a chance to win a brand new red Vespa courtesy of Bogart’s Motor Sports.

It’ll be a day late recognition of the ancient Vulcanalia festival in honor of that big guy hanging out atop Red Mountain nowadays – Vulcan.

The folks over at the museum responsible for Art on the Rocks have provided information about how to make your own toga courtesy of their recent MySpace profile blog post:

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Civil Rights Institute announces Smithsonian affiliation

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) has been named an affiliate to the Smithsonian Institution. The BCRI learned of the acceptance in May; they will be receiving a certificate recognizing the association next week during a reception at the Institute.

The Smithsonian’s Affiliations Program allows participating institutions to borrow artifacts from the Institution’s collection It also allows them to take advantage of the Smithsonian’s educational resources and expertise in the areas of conservation, collections care and exhibition development.  Continue reading