June 24, 2019
Huntsville, Ala. – The Huntsville Museum of Art (HMA) is excited to present, We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents, which showcases (for the first time outside of Montgomery) Alabama’s six constitutions. This historic exhibition will be on view in Huntsville from June 30 through August 11, 2019.
In the summer of 1819, forty-four delegates met in Huntsville to draft Alabama’s first constitution, the defining document that provided the framework for the state’s government. Two hundred years later, the constitution of 1819 is returning to the city. We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents will feature all six of Alabama’s constitutions, along with the 1861 ordinance of secession, which declared Alabama’s separation from the Union on the eve of the Civil War. This exhibition will explore how these documents, some of the most important in state history, reflect their framers’ values, hopes, and fears.
This exhibition is curated and designed by the staff of the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) in Montgomery, where the documents permanently reside. In preparation for the celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial year, extensive conservation work was conducted on the documents by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, Massachusetts.
“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 for making it possible.”
The documents will travel from Montgomery to Huntsville on Tuesday, June 25, in a special bicentennial motorcade with state trooper escorts.
“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 capitol.”
The exhibition will be on view at the Huntsville Museum of Art June 30 through August 11. On Sunday, June 30, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Museum will offer free admission. On the opening day, an official ribbon cutting will be held at 1:00 p.m. inside the galleries, and at 3:00 p.m. the ADAH director Steve Murray and NEDCC conservator Katie
Boodle will give a presentation. Seating for the presentation will be limited. The ribbon cutting and lecture will be open to the public.
We the People will also be on view from November 3 through December 31, 2019, at the Museum of Alabama, located inside the ADAH in Montgomery.