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May 18 is National Museum Day— visit one of the River Region’s many museums to celebrate! Need a little help planning your trip? Here’s a guide to some of the best museums in the area. 

Montgomery

The Legacy Museum

  • Hours: Wednesday- Sunday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing. Closed on all major holidays.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: The Legacy Museum houses exhibits that detail the horrors of the domestic slave trade, the history of racial inequality, and the importance of other social issues from America’s past and present. This 11,000-square-foot facility is built near the previous site of a historic slave auction on land where a slave warehouse once stood. 
  • Did you know? The Legacy Museum is located just a short walk or shuttle ride away from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The Memorial includes hundreds of stunning sculptures and monuments that depict the terrors of lynching and racial injustice. 
  • Notes: Timed entry tickets are required for the Legacy Museum, so make sure you book yours online well in advance. No photography or recording of any kind is allowed in the Museum.

Museum of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Archives and History

  • Hours: Monday- Saturday, 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Closed on all state holidays.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: If you want to learn all about Alabama’s past and present, the Museum of Alabama houses everything you need to know. Permanent and traveling exhibits contain hundreds of artifacts, photographs, and historical documents that tell our state’s story from the very beginning. 
  • Did you know? The experts at the Alabama Department of Archives and History’s Research Room can help you trace your Alabama heritage at no cost! Just make sure to set up an appointment in advance. 
  • Notes: Limited free parking is available directly behind the building. Guided group tours are available. 

Mann Wildlife Learning Museum

  • Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Last admission is 4:30 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day
  • Entry fee: Included with entry to the Montgomery Zoo 
  • About: Named after wildlife conservation enthusiast George P. Mann, the 28,000-square-foot facility contains nearly 300 exhibits with lifelike depictions of North American wildlife in realistic environments. After taking in the wildlife, visitors can get up close and personal with massive authentic fossils and historic artifacts from Native American tribes. 
  • Did you know? The Mann Museum has several interactive exhibits. Don’t miss out on the touch-and-feel fur displays! 
  • Notes: Sensory bags for guests with sensory processing disorders can be borrowed for free from the Mann Museum. Buying tickets online ahead of time is encouraged.

Montgomery Museum of Fine Art (MMFA) 

  • Hours: Tuesday- Saturday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Sunday 12- 5 p.m. Last admission is 4:45 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Independence, Veterans, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Days.
  • Entry fee: Free (donations encouraged) 
  • About: The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art is home to over 4,000 works of art ranging from paintings to sculptures to stained glass windows. Most of the works in the Museum are from American artists and were completed between the 18th and 21st centuries. Tons of the pieces in MMFA are housed there permanently, but exciting traveling exhibits come through the Museum year-round. 
  • Did you know? MMFA’s Caddell Sculpture Garden contains permanent and temporary installations that the whole family will enjoy. Plus, there’s plenty of space on the grass for a nice picnic among the art! 
  • Notes: Guided tours and group visits are available.

Old Alabama Town

  • Hours: Monday- Friday and second Saturday of each month, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Ticket sales end at 3 p.m. 
  • Entry fee: $20 for adults; $8 for children over 5; free admission for children on Second Saturdays with paid adult admission; 10% discount for AAA, military, and seniors; group rates available
  • About: Old Alabama Town is made up of over 50 professionally and authentically restored 19th and early 20th century structures that show what life used to be like. Highlights include an early 1900s doctor’s office, an 1820s log cabin, and a late 1800s rural schoolhouse. 
  • Did you know? Pets are welcome at Old Alabama Town! Just make sure to keep them on a leash and pick up after them. 
  • Notes: Guided tours are available. You can also tour Old Alabama Town from the comfort of your own home with the Xplore Old Alabama Town app.

Rosa Parks Museum

  • Hours: Monday- Friday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Last admission is 4 p.m.
  • Entry fee: $7.50 for ages 13+; $5.50 for ages 4-12; free for children under 4; military, AARP, AAA, teacher, and student discounts available; group rates available
  • About: Troy University-Montgomery’s Rosa Parks Museum is a strong and lasting tribute to one of the nation’s greatest Civil Rights Movement leaders. Visitors will learn all about the events leading up to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the way Parks bravely sparked the boycott, and what took place after. 
  • Did you know? Rosa Parks herself attended the dedication of the Museum in 2000. She and her family were the first to tour the facility. 
  • Notes: You can park for free on any Troy University-Montgomery property while visiting the Museum. Guided tours are available for groups of 20 or more.

The MOOseum 

  • Hours: Monday- Friday, 8 a.m.- 12 p.m. and 1- 4:30 p.m.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: Alabama’s beef cattle industry is an extremely important component of our state’s identity and economy. Visit this hands-on museum to learn all about the history of Alabama’s beef cattle industry, the importance of food safety and nutrition, and more. You’ll want to bring a camera along— there are tons of fun photo ops! 
  • Did you know? Kids can dress up in real cowboy and cowgirl gear at the MOOseum and learn what it’s like to participate in a rodeo. 
  • Notes: RV parking is available at the MOOseum. 

The Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

  • Hours: Thursday- Saturday, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
  • Entry fee: $10 per person; $7 for students, seniors, and military
  • About: Celebrate everyone’s favorite Jazz Age couple by learning about their history at the world’s only museum dedicated to the lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Zelda grew up in Montgomery, so the iconic pair returned here periodically both to live and to visit family. Check out the Museum’s impressive collection of books, letters, and other items that tell the story of the Fitzgeralds. 
  • Did you know? Two private apartments on the second floor of the Museum are available for rent through Airbnb: The Zelda Suite and The Scott Suite. Access to the Museum during open hours is included with a stay in either suite. 
  • Notes: Guided and group tours are available. 

The Hank Williams Museum 

  • Hours: Monday- Friday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sunday 1- 4 p.m.
  • Entry fee: $12.50 for ages 18+; $5 for ages 15- 17; $3 for ages 5- 14; free for children 4 and under; military, senior, and AAA discounts available; group rates available 
  • About: This museum was made for anyone who loves history and country music, or any type of music, really! Montgomery and the legendary singer Hank Williams have strong ties— Hank actually had his own radio show on Montgomery’s own WSFA and is buried in Montgomery’s Oakwood Cemetery. Take a closer look at Hank’s life through his clothes, instruments, and other personal items. 
  • Did you know? Hank’s iconic 1952 Baby Blue Cadillac is on display at the Museum. 
  • Notes: Photography, recording, and cell phone usage are not permitted in the Museum.

Alabama State Capitol

  • Hours: Monday- Friday; 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Closed on state holidays.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: Alabama’s State Capitol Building is located right here in Downtown Montgomery. Stop by to check out the original offices and chambers, amazing antiques and artifacts, and the very spots where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederacy and the Selma to Montgomery March ended.  
  • Did you know? The Goat Hill Museum Store at the Alabama State Capitol has an amazing selection of locally-made gifts, souvenirs, books by Alabama authors, and more. 
  • Notes: Behind-the-scenes and guided group tours are available. 

Freedom Rides Museum

  • Hours: Tuesday- Friday, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
  • Entry fee: $5 for adults; $4 for college students, seniors, and military; $3 for children ages 6-18; free for children under 6; $12 for a family of two adults and two children; group rates available
  • About: The Freedom Riders traveled through the South in the early 1960s as a way to challenge racial segregation on public transportation. The group stopped at Montgomery’s Greyhound Station and was met with a violent mob. The station is now a museum that tells the story of the Freedom Riders and their important role in the Civil Rights Movement. 
  • Did you know? Visitors can see how buildings were designed for racial segregation at this historic site. 
  • Notes: Guided group tours are available. 

Prattville

Prattauga Art Guild Gallery

  • Hours: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.; Sunday, 1- 4 p.m.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: There are so many talented artists in the River Region! The Art Gallery at the Prattauga Art Guild contains permanent and traveling collections with works from famous local, regional, and national artists. 
  • Did you know? The Prattauga Art Guild structure was built in the early 1890s. 

Prattaugan Museum and Welcome Center

  • Hours: Tuesday- Friday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: Visit this museum to learn all about Prattville and Autauga County’s history. Housed in a structure that was built in the mid-1800s, the Prattaugan Museum is filled with artifacts, documents, and archives that tell the story of the area. 
  • Did you know? Visitors can use the museum’s archives to research their family histories and more. 

Wetumpka

Elmore County Museum 

  • Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday- Saturday, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: Take a trip to the Elmore County Museum and learn everything there is to know about the area’s history. The Museum contains old newspapers and records, antique photographs, cool artifacts, and more. 
  • Did you know? The Elmore County Historical Society runs the Museum and sometimes offers tours of the historic Wetumpka Cemetery. 

Nearby

The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art– Auburn

  • Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday- Sunday, 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Last admission is one hour before closing. The Museum observes all Auburn University holidays and weather-related or emergency closures. It is also closed on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University focuses heavily on making art accessible to the community, conducting research in the fine art field, and conserving works of art. This art museum houses permanent and temporary exhibitions with fantastic works from local, national, and international artists. 
  • Did you know? You can purchase unique handmade items created by local artists at the Museum Shop.

Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum– Calera

  • Hours: Saturday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Ticket sales end at 3 p.m. The Museum will temporarily close when lightning is present in the immediate vicinity.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • About: After you take a ride on the historic Calera and Shelby Railroad, stop by the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum to learn all about the history of trains in Alabama and around the country. The Museum includes two fully restored depots, numerous railroad artifacts, and an impressive outside collection of railroad cars, locomotives, and cabooses. 
  • Did you know? This museum is home to the former Birmingham Zoo park train, and you can ride it during your visit!

*This information is accurate as of May 16, 2021. Make sure to double-check each museum’s hours and entry fee when planning your visit!