Huntsville has a rich history, and is a great place to visit to explore some unique historical treasures. There are several easy ways to add these to include these in a visit to the city, including local museums and walking tours. But for the true history buff, there's a great tool for really diving into the history of Huntsville, whether you're preparing for a trip here or just want to go on a historic tour of Huntsville from the comfort of your computer – the Huntsville History Collection.
Created by local historian Deane Dayton, the Huntsville History Collection offers an incredible wealth of historical resources, ranging from a photo archive to past historical publications to official records.
If you're wanting to come tour Huntsville's history in person, the Huntsville History Collection offers a variety of resources. There are several great tours that are available here to hear captivating stories about Huntsville's past, but you can't find one that fits your schedule, the HHC offers a Tour Guide Assistant with recorded stories you can play as you walk through town. It also offers a set of tours, complete with pictures, directions and information that can be viewed on your smartphone as you explore, including two dedicated to Madison County's many historical markers.
If you want to tour Huntsville virtually (or do some prep work to plan a historical tour before coming here), the Huntsville History Collection has you taken care of there, as well. You can get the experience of walking down Huntsville streets with an archive of photographs of literally hundreds of homes in historic neighborhoods. (And with bus tours from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center currently on hold, it may offer your best look beyond the gates of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, including a look back into the past of facilities now modified or demolished). There's even a "Time Machine" offering glimpses of how Downtown Huntsville looked over the city's more than two-century history.
For educators, the Huntsville History Collection hosts materials for the HOPE program – History Outreach Program for Educators – a service of the Huntsville/Madison County Historical Society. Even for educators outside the area, the free resources can be great tools for talking about the study of history.
The Huntsville History Collection is an almost-endless wealth of information. And even if you do somehow feel like you've reached the end of it, check again – after all, in the Rocket City, we're always making history.