Located in downtown Mobile in the old city hall building is a detailed history of the city of Mobile. The building contains two floors dedicated to how Alabama’s port city came to be. I was very surprised at how much information there was to be had in the museum and how well it was presented.
Cost of admission is very decent with children under 6 being admitted for free. Also there is free admission to the museum the first Sunday of every month. The lobby of the building is exquisite, as you are greeted with a grand stairway. It appears to be all marble and very well maintained. Once you pass the lobby you are once again greeted by another grand structure. This time it’s Marianne the goddess of liberty. I was impressed at how clean and well preserved the exhibits and halls were.
How long the experience takes will depend on the guest. There is a lot of reading on a majority of the exhibits. Take that in mind as children who are not of reading age can become bored. The exhibits are wonderfully presented, whether it is pictures or artifacts. Having said this, it’s not hard for an adult to weave a wonderful story to capture their child’s attention. In the early mobile section there is a fair history about slavery and racism. Shocking as it may be, it’s a part of Southern history not just Mobile. I was actually happy that my 3rd grader took it in stride better than I thought he would. Although there is a large warning placed over the picture, I’d like to give a heads up. By the KKK Clansman uniform there is a picture of an actual lynching. My kindergarten daughter didn’t understand the picture, but my 3rd grader was curious. As I said he took it in stride; my wife explained the picture and he listened. Instead of being horrified of the picture he was more upset that people would do something like this to another.
One of the best things about this museum is the ability to use the exhibits to explain how they relate to Mobile today. One exhibit was the construction of Bankhead Tunnel. We usually take this tunnel from Mobile to the causeway, so my kids were quite familiar with it. As my daughter calls it, “the cave”, and even she was interested as to how it was made. Naturally there is a large section on Mardi Gras, since Mobile is the actual birthplace of the celebration in the United States. While my wife was mesmerized by the gowns and costumes, my daughter was asking for the beads, cups, and doubloons scattered about. Once again it was an exhibit in which everyone could relate to from what they’ve experienced now.
There is a large amount of information to take away from this museum. This is also a great tool to learn about the Port City which has a richer history than I knew. Although I wished there was more exhibits geared toward children, I can understand this is history. With creative story telling parents can bring the exhibits to life for their child. After one visit I feel this museum is definitely a hidden gem, as its nothing that I was expecting. I will definitely be coming back.
The Mobile Museum also advertises The Phoenix Fire Museum which is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday only. If you plan on seeing both museums please plan accordingly, I went on a weekend and unfortunately could not visit.
This review is based on a complimentary visit to The History Museum of Mobile. I received no other compensation and these opinions are entirely my own.