Exhibit showcases the history of Alabama

Continue to celebrate Alabama’s bicentennial celebration by visiting the exhibit Of This Goodly Land in Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library. This exhibit showcases the progression of the state, historical events and the evolution of industries in Alabama from when it first began.


Kinsley Centers, Contributing Writer

Alabama’s bicentennial celebration continues as the exhibit Of This Goodly Land shows the history of the state at the Gayle Gorgas Library here on campus. The exhibit is displayed in the Pearce foyers of the library. Take a step back in time and reflect as you visit each table to read about the history of Alabama the beautiful.

The exhibit has been available for all to visit since September of last year and was originally intended to remain open until December 2019. However, due to the construction taking place in the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, the exhibit will be taken down earlier than planned. The exhibit was originally on the second and third floors of the library, but the section on the third floor in the A.S Williams III Americana Collection, which showcased the music history in Alabama, has been taken down already. The remaining section of the history-filled exhibition, in the Pearce foyers, will also be cut short months in advance. It is planned to be removed within the next few weeks and will not be put back up.

However, the exhibit is still available for visitors to learn from.  The display serves as an open book of the history of Alabama. As stated in the exhibit, the state of Alabama became a territory on March 3, 1817, and then became an official state on December 14, 1819. Visitors are able to view the growth the state has made over the past 200 years as they enter the building and see the artifacts on display. From reading about the early formation of Alabama to learning about historical events that took place and the progression of the state’s industries, natives and out-of-state visitors are able to gain insight about the state.

Martha Bace, a processing archivist, said she has spent quite some time working on the exhibit, spending all last summer studying for it to come together. Bace said she wants people who visit the exhibit to “re-see” the truth of our city and the state by being able to view the growth from the beginning to now.

Through the exhibit, Bace strives to shed light on the geographical and industrial diversity of the state of Alabama. She said she hopes that the exhibit shows viewers the diversity of the land itself by displaying its coastal and mountain areas, as well as the diversity of the industries.

“A lot of people don’t realize the diversity, and that’s probably one of the things that I really wanted to focus on for that exhibit was the diversity of Alabama,” Bace said.

Allowing the mind to visit the past, black-and-white photographs along with newspaper clippings are showcased as they tell Alabama’s story. Of This Goodly Land exhibits the history of Alabama, including the positive and negative aspects the state has faced over the last 200 years.

This exhibit does not focus on one particular subject of the state, it focuses on various so that it potentially appeals to all. The exhibit gives an insight of the major historical events that took place in the state of Alabama that include the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil War and the Space Race.

It goes in depth with the history of the development of the stat, as well as the evolution of the industries beyond cotton in Alabama. The diversity is shown in the exhibit, as it includes the state’s history of the timber and logging industries and coal, iron and steel industries.

“[I’m] just trying to show one, the diversity of the state, and two, the diversity of our collections here in the library here in special collections, and those are the two things we tried to focus on most,” Bace said.

Bace has hopes that the exhibit Of This Goodly Land will be eye-opening to others as it allows them to grasp what all this state offers, and for them to gain an insight of the development Alabama has progressively made over the last 200 years. Bace wishes this exhibit will motivate visitors to travel to the places that are showcased, such as the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.