Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Alabama is the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, founded in this state in the mid 20th century. Many opportunities are available to visitors to explore the history of a movement that not only redefined this state and the United States of America, but also changed the world forever. Visit American Civil War battlefields as well as sites and museums than honour Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. Going further back in time, there is in Alabama a near complete record of southeastern prehistory with many well preserved archaeological sites easily accessible to all. As are locations that memorialise the conflicts between indigenous communities and European settles. Alabama was the 22nd state to be admitted to the Union, as of 14 December 1819.

Archaeology & History Sites in Alabama

Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens

Designed in the Greek Revival style, Arlington Antebellum Home was built in the 1840s by the wealthy lawyer William Swearingen Mudd. It is possible that his new home absorbed part of an earlier, 1820s building that had previously stood on the same site. The house was initially named the Grove, only taking on the name of Arlington near the start of the 20th century. Now owned by the City of Birmingham and cared for by the Arlington Historical Association, it is the only Antebellum mansion located within the environs of the city.

Belle Mont

One of the few Palladian-style houses in the American South, Belle Mont Mansion has been described as one of the finest buildings in Alabama. Built atop a hilltop circa 1828, the mansion reflects Thomas Jefferson’s influence on architectural ideas within the early United States. The man who commissioned Belle Mont’s construction was a Virginian, Alexander W. Mitchell, who was a major slave owner in the area. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982, the house is now in the care of the Alabama Historical Commission.

Dexter Parsonage Museum

Martin Luther King Jr was the foremost figure in the African American Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s. The Dexter Parsonage Museum in Montgomery is the home in which he lived between 1954 – 1960. Erected in 1912, the parsonage housed successive parsons of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church from 1920 through to 1992. The King-Johns Garden for Reflection is behind the building.


Built between 1843 and 1861, Gaineswood is a Greek Revival building designed by the self-taught architect Nathan Bryan Whitfield, who intended it as his own personal residence. Having arrived in Alabama from North Carolina, Whitfield had amassed considerable wealth from his cotton plantations and ploughed this into his lavish structure and the landscaped grounds and gardens around it. The house remained in the hands of Whitfield’s descendants until the 1920s. Gaineswood is now owned by the Alabama Historical Commission and operated as a visitor’s attraction by the Friends of Gaineswood.

Magnolia Grove

The Greek Revival ‘Big House’ at Magnolia Grove was built in 1840 for the wealthy lawyer and plantation owner Isaac Croom. It was here that Richmond Pearson Hobson grew up – he would later join the US Navy, rising to become an admiral before entering politics and sitting in the House of Representatives, where he was a vocal supporter of prohibition. The house takes its name from the large number of southern magnolia plants in its grounds, which can be found alongside a slave house and a kitchen with accompanying cook’s quarters.

Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation

The Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation was established by William Moore in the early 19th century. Originally a homestead surrounded by 80 acres, over time it grew to encompass thousands of acres. The plantation house burned down in 1927, with the family moving elsewhere, but they retained control of the plantation itself. A range of historic outbuildings escaped the blaze and remain in situ, alongside a collection of historic farm equipment. The plantation continues to operate in an agricultural function to this day, although visitors are welcome by prior appointment.


The Greek Revival plantation house at Oakleigh was created by a wealthy Virginian merchant, James W. Roper, in 1833. The centrepiece of Roper’s cotton plantation, Oakleigh survived the subsequent Civil War with one of its residents declaring her neutrality as a British citizen to avoid attack by Union troops. The property is also home to a range of outbuildings, including the mid-19th-century Creole-style Cox-Deasy Cottage and the Union Barracks built during the Postbellum Reconstruction period. The house is now open to visitors by guided tour.

Pond Spring, the General Joe Wheeler Home

General Joe Wheeler fought for the Confederate cavalry in the American Civil War before going on to serve with the U.S. military and also represent Alabama in the House of Representatives. He moved to Pond Spring in the 1870s but its history long predated him – as highlighted by the indigenous burial mound in its grounds. The wealthy European American John P. Hickman established the plantation in 1818, bringing with him enslaved workers, many of whom are probably buried at the African American cemetery that remains on the site.

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmarks

Anyone interested in industrial heritage should check out the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Birmingham. Between 1882 and 1971 it the blast furnaces here produced pig-iron. Since then, it has operated as a heritage attraction devoted to teaching visitors more about the role of industry in the 19th and 20th centuries. Various events take place here throughout the year, including music festivals and haunted Halloween celebrations.

Museums & Art Galleries in Alabama

Rosa Parks Museum

Rosa Parks is one of the most famous names of the African American civil rights struggle – her refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955–56. The Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery focuses on Parks and the boycott, displaying a range of artefacts associated with that event. The museum’s collection includes Parks’ arrest record and a preserved bus from the time.