Alabama iron man, Vulcan, to join forces with history center

Vulcan Park & Museum is merging with Birmingham History Center to exhibit an expansive collection of artifacts from the Magic City.

Posted: Jan. 19, 2018 8:09 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Vulcan Park & Museum is merging with Birmingham History Center to exhibit an expansive collection of artifacts from the Magic City.

Birmingham History Center's collection includes more than 13,000 items including historical photographs and documents, the iconic Pete's Famous Hot Dogs sign, a carriage and replica of the U.S.S. Birmingham.

The merger was announced on Thursday at Vulcan Park & Museum.

Birmingham History Center's collection has been in storage since the group lost its lease on exhibit space in 2013. Mini exhibits are currently up at the Alabama Theatre, Mountain Brook City Hall and Tutwiler Hotel.

The group has worked for more than 15 years to preserve the region's history through the collection of historical artifacts and memorabilia. The collection spans from the early days of Birmingham when coal and iron were king to military uniforms to the growth of corporations and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Birmingham History Center merged with Vulcan Park in August 2017 after two years of negotiations.

Fox De Funiak, III, co-president of Birmingham History Center, said Vulcan Park was the perfect partner because they had an existing museum and an impressive staff and board.

Brian Giattina, vice chair of Vulcan Park and Museum, said the museum will move forward by inventorying all of the items and how they can share the stories of the artifacts with children and other visitors. He said educational programs and traveling programs will likely be created.

"We feel this merger is going to give Vulcan the ability to define where we are going to be in five years, 10 years and 20 years down the road," he said.

Vulcan Park Executive Director Darlene Negrotto said she wants the collection to eventually be included in an online, searchable database that can be used by the community.

"These artifacts to hear about them is one thing, but to be able to interact with them and understand and touch something that was useful to others in that past, that truly brings history to life," she said. It makes it real, and that is what we are most excited about."

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