International Museum Day is a holiday that shouldn’t be overlooked! May 18th, the whole world celebrates and values the importance of museums for the development of society. A museum stands for cultural exchange and enrichment, mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples. As Tuscaloosa is a city with a long and rich history, important cultural legacies and a prosperous art scene, there are numerous amazing museums in town that are worth a visit – not only on National Museum Day! These are our favorites:
Tuscaloosa Museum of Art
This former private collection, amassed by Jack Warner, turned into a Museum in 2003 and is truly a treasure within the community. You can marvel at approximately 1000 pieces of fine and decorative arts, and also the building itself is special: It’s an Asian-inspired complex that also contains a beautiful garden! As the “Home of the Westervelt Collection,” the museum holds one of the greatest private collections of American Arts in the nation.
Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center
Even if cars are sometimes more of a man’s passion, this museum is worth a visit for everybody! Take a short drive east of Tuscaloosa and enter the ground of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International – the only Mercedes factory in the United States! The visitor center is located in its own building and contains the museum and a souvenir shop. Stroll through the stunning exhibits and discover the history and tradition of this classic car brand, and you will walk dreaming of owning a beautiful Mercedes! German engineering meets Southern hospitality – a successful combination!
Alabama Museum of Natural History
Usually, the huge dinosaur bones in the Alabama Museum of Natural History don’t come alive like they do in Hollywood, but it doesn’t make this museum any less exciting! For more than 150 years, it offers permanent and temporary exhibits, collections and programs to learn everything about Alabama’s fascinating natural history! Among the obvious highlights, like the dinosaurs, there are many exciting things to discover. Recently added: An Augmented Reality sandbox, in which you can create topography models out of sands that are then augmented by a digital simulation! Give it a try and go explore!
Paul W. Bryant Museum
One of the most important aspects of Tuscaloosa Culture is, of course, football! When it comes to fall season, dixie’s football pride is present all over the city and everybody comes together to be a part of the gameday experience. To feel that spirit even in the off season, you shouldn’t miss a visit to the Paul W. Bryant Museum! It opened in 1988 and since then, houses the history of Alabama football, with a special emphasis on the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Permanent and changing exhibits, including Bear Bryant’s original office, can be visited daily from 9 am to 4 pm – just as on National Museum Day on May 18th!
Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa
You can’t start early enough to introduce your kids to arts and culture! Take the National Museum Day as an occasion and take them out to Tuscaloosa’s Children’s Hands-On Museum. This unique museum in downtown is tailor made for the little ones, to introduce them to arts, crafts, and exciting exhibits in an interactive and exploring way! It provides fun for kids of all ages and they will never ever get the idea of calling a museum boring afterward!
Written By: Katharina Horvath – Intern
Tuscaloosa is home to the only Mercedes-Benz museum outside of Germany and for over 20 years, Mercedes-Benz has been manufacturing some of their most popular automobiles right here in Tuscaloosa County. Currently, the plant is responsible for building the GLE SUV, GL SUV, the C-Class and the GLE Coupe for the North American market.
The Visitor Center, which originally opened in 1997 and was recently renovated a little over a year ago, has exhibits that displays the history of the German automaker. This architectural showcase brings to life the company’s vision of producing the finest automobiles in the world.
The Visitor Center is an evolving, interactive tour through some of Mercedes-Benz’s greatest innovations and future automotive technological concepts. It includes vehicles ranging from a model of the 1886 Benz Patented Motor Car, recognized as the world’s first car, to the brand new 2016 GLE Coupe SUV. The museum also features iconic, classic Mercedes-Benz automobiles, authentic Mercedes-Benz race cars, a Mercedes-Benz “peerless safety” exhibit, and a gift shop.
The center is divided into five areas that tell the story of Mercedes-Benz vehicles: innovation, performance, safety, vision and design. The Visitor Center is also a key component in the company’s new immersion program. On a weekly basis, this program brings people who work for Mercedes-Benz and its dealerships to Vance to let them learn about the company’s vehicles, history and culture, tour its facilities and test drive its vehicles.
The Visitor Center is open Monday- Friday, 8:30 am- 4:30 pm and admission is free. Factory tours are also available, but must be reserved in advance.
Be sure to visit The Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center at 6 Mercedes Drive, Vance, AL 35490. For more information, visit mbusi.com/visitorcenter
Written by: Adrian Gee, TTS Public Relations Intern