Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017  
Roy L. Williams            
Director of Public Relations        
Birmingham Public Library             
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067            
“Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps” exhibit coming to Birmingham Public Library
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama-History enthusiasts and map lovers, the Birmingham Public Library’s downtown location is preparing to host a new exhibit that will whet your appetite. “Sweet Home: Alabama’s History in Maps” opens in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library, 2100 Park Place, on Wednesday, March 1 and runs through Sunday, April 30, 2017. 

The public is invited to attend the opening reception on Sunday, March 5 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Fourth Floor Gallery. The entire exhibit is also available online at

Timed to coincide with Alabama’s upcoming bicentennial, this exhibit tells the history of our state by introducing patrons to maps that depict Alabama’s development from the earliest days of exploration through the present day. Partially funded by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the exhibit explores 450 years of Alabama history. It includes over 50 maps which have been carefully selected from the library's world class cartography collection.

Jay Lamar, head of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, called “Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps,” “one of the most exciting, beautiful, and stimulating exhibitions I have ever seen. People will discover things about Alabama that they never knew or imagined by experiencing these lovely, remarkable maps."

 The library has been the grateful recipient of several large collections of rare, valuable, and exquisitely drawn maps. These donations were made by Rucker Agee, Dr. Charles Ochs, John C. Henley III, and Joseph H. Woodward II.

 "Birmingham is incredibly fortunate to have such a large collection of beautiful maps," said Mary Beth Newbill, head of BPL’s Southern History Department, which houses the map collection.  Newbill hopes the exhibit will be exciting to "map lovers, genealogists, and anyone interested in Alabama history." 

BPL will host two lectures from visiting scholars during the course of the exhibit, Newbill said.  Dr. Martin Olliff of Troy University, Dothan will be speaking on the development of Alabama roads and highways. His lecture, “Roads That Start Somewhere and End Somewhere: How Alabama and the Nation Got its First Highways,” will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 25. 

Professor and author Dr. Melinda Kashuba will be speaking at 10 a.m. on April 8. Her program, “Making Your Sweet Home among Maps: How to Read and Interpret Maps of the Southeastern United States for Genealogists, Historians, Teachers, and Map Lovers”, will be a hands-on workshop that explores the symbols and mapping conventions used on 19th and early 20th century maps to tell the story of the development of the Southeast. Students will learn how to interpret and analyze information contained on old maps. 

Both lectures are in the Central Library's Arrington Auditorium. For more information, call the Birmingham Public Library's Southern History Department at 205-226-3665 or email
For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for 130 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.  
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