Alabama’s constitutions move from Montgomery to Huntsville for bicentennial exhibition

Updated: Jun. 25, 2019 at 5:25 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some of Alabama’s most important documents are making a move. Alabama’s six constitutions, along with the 1861 ordinance of secession, which declared Alabama separation from the Union on the eve of the Civil War, are moving from the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery to the Huntsville Museum of Art.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History is presenting a special bicentennial exhibition in Huntsville called, "We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents.” The Exhibition in Huntsville will explore how these documents, some of the most important in the state’s history, reflect their framers’ values, hopes and fears.

In the summer of 1819, 44 delegates met in Huntsville to draft Alabama’s first constitution. So it’s fitting that 200 years later, the constitution of 1819 is returning to the city.

“On the occasion of Alabama’s 200th anniversary, it is appropriate that the 1819 constitution return to the place of its adoption,” said Steve Murray, Director of the ADAH. “The exhibition is a special opportunity to learn and reflect on the consequential history of each of these documents, and we are grateful to the Huntsville Museum of Art of making it possible.”

“This exhibition is an historic milestone for our state and we are honored to showcase these important documents at our Museum in the city where it all began,” commented Christopher J. Madkour, executive director of the HMA. “We hope everyone in our community is able to visit the Museum to view the documents in person before they return to our state’s capital.”

This will be the first time Alabama’s six constitutions have been on view together outside of the Department of Archives and History building. The Northeast Document Conservation Center in Massachusetts has done some intensive conservation work on these documents to prepare them for the move.

“We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents” will go on display June 30th through August 11th. On Sunday, June 30th, from noon to 5 p.m., the museum will offer a free admission day. A ribbon cutting will be held at 1 p.m. At 3 pm., ADAH Director Steve Murray will present a lecture on the constitutional convention of 1819. He will be followed by Katie Boodle, conservator at NEDCC who will discuss the conservation of Alabama’s defining documents.

The ribbon cutting and lectures are open to the public.

"We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents” will also be on view from Nov. 3rd through Dec. 31, 2019, at the Museum of Alabama, located inside the ADAH in Montgomery.

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