Do you recognize these folks?
By Lydia Grimes
This week I wanted to show you a couple more of the photographs found in the home of Hal Whitman's grandmother after her death. I think you can see what good shape the photos are in and it seems such a shame not to know who they are. If you recognize any of the faces, let me know.
I also want to remind you about the celebration that will be held in Montgomery at the opening of the new west wing of the Alabama Archives and History on Oct. 8. I have gotten another flyer and it seems that there will be plenty of entertainment for all ages, not to mention the items that will be on display.
There will be tours of the new building showing unique documents, quilts (not only those made by the quilters from Gee's Bend, but also those that have historical value), see behind-the-scenes tours of the collection storage rooms and see tens of thousands of boxes and volumes of historic records stored in environmentally perfect conditions.
They will have activities for the children, some that will be very unusual, such as the chance to write a letter with a quill pen, to churn butter, make Indian jewelry and pots, to make a Mardi Gras mask and see some of the beautiful costumes from Mobile, become a Huntsville astronaut, hear storytellers, visit the 18th century and Civil War living history encampments on the lawn and to tap their feet to the sound of the 5th Alabama Infantry Regiment Band.
Music will be a big part of the celebration. There will be blue-grass, gospel, Sacred Harp singing and African-American music, as well as some down-home juke joint blues.
Listen to a panel discussion with the quilters from Gee's Bend and William Arnett and Bob Ingram (long time reporter) speak on politics in Alabama and see photographs that portray Alabama.
Last, but not least, bring your antiques. Empty your attic and bring your treasures to the Archives for identification, evaluation and preservation tips. This will be something like the popular PBS television show, "Antiques Roadshow," where you can find out if your item is trash or treasure. As for the preservation tips, I have had some personal experience with this one. A few years ago, I received some clothing that had belonged to my grandmother who died in 1920. The pieces consisted of several dresses, what looks like batiste undergarments and dresses, and one baby dress that would have belonged to my father. They were badly discolored and, of course, needed cleaning. I was tickled to get them, but scared to try to clean them without some guidance. I called the Archives and not only got to speak to someone who could help me, but a few days later, I received a book telling me all about how to preserve and protect many different things. This lady that had talked to me went out of her way to help me take care of my little part of history.
So, join me at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Avenue in Montgomery. It belongs to the people of the state and is a place every Alabamian should visit at least once in their lifetime.