We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents

We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents

Haws Gallery
June 30 – 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 as part of a special exhibition curated by the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), on view at the Huntsville Museum of Art, June 30 through August 11, 2019. The exhibition, titled “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.

For two centuries, Alabamians have been engaged in a civics conversation. Whose voice matters? What do we value? What is the role of state government? Who can vote? The people of Alabama have debated these issues through political conventions, referendums, and in the courts. And at crucial moments in history, these fundamental questions have been answered in the state’s principal governing documents: its constitutions. This exhibition will explore how these documents, some of the most important in state history, reflect their framers’ values, hopes, and fears.

The exhibition is curated and designed by the staff of the ADAH in Montgomery, where the documents permanently reside. In preparation for the celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial year, extensive conservation work has been conducted on the documents by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, Massachusetts. The exhibit in Huntsville will be the first public display of these historic records since returning from New England, and the first time they have been displayed together outside of Montgomery.

Free Opening Event:

FREE DAY!  The Huntsville Museum of Art is happy to allow the public to view these historic pieces for free on the opening day.

Sunday, June 30, 2019
12-5 p.m.
Free to the public – one day only.

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