Museums and Other Venues

On a bluff high above the mighty Alabama River, you’ll discover hundreds of years of rich history in Selma.  Century-old buildings that warehoused King Cotton and Civil War munitions are now home to delightful specialty shops, cafes, offices, and museums.  From its earliest days, Selma has made history.  During the Civil War, it was one of the South’s main military manufacturing centers, producing tons of supplies and munitions, and turning out Confederate warships such as the ironclad Tennessee.  Union General J. H. Wilson’s troops destroyed Selma’s Confederate arsenal, factories, and much of the city, in a fiery, bloody siege.

Pilgrimage begins at the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum which serves as ticket headquarters. The three-story building has served as a girl’s school, courthouse, Confederate hospital and a local renowned hospital during the 20th Century. Sturdivant Hall is also a must see on the tour that offers opulence and hospitality as you tour inside! This magnificent mansion with its six front Corinthian columns, imported Italian marble and quiet Southern grace is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the epitome of the South’s golden age.  The grand house personifies elegance and is an immediate indicator of the affluence of its past owners.  High ceilings, elaborate moldings and stairways exemplify the classical architectural ideals.  Heart pine floors, delicately detailed marble fireplaces and servant call bells are a few of the home’s interesting features. Grand. Magnificent. Elegant. All describe Sturdivant Hall which has been called “The finest Greek revival neo-classic antebellum mansion in the Southeast”.

The Selma Art Guild will host a special showing of photographs by Ronald Ellis Nutt as well as watercolors, oils, pottery, sketches and more by other local artists. Mr. Nutt grew up in Selma and traveled the world with the military. This exhibition is his documentation of his beautiful, historic hometown. Heritage Village is the site of several 1800s structures that were donated to the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society. The buildings include Calhoun Law Office, McKinnon-Riggs Doctor’s Office, Siegel Servants’ Quarters, and Pigeon Cote. The village also includes the Gillis House and Miss Minnie Sue’s Cottage. First Baptist Church is a French Gothic style structure with massive oak doors and gargoyles around the steeple. The interior has beautifully restored woodwork and four windows from the original antebellum church as well as a breathtaking mosaic and stained-glass windows.

In Old Live Oak Cemetery, twilight is a special time during Pilgrimage as Selma’s rich history comes to life. Visitors both young and old will be captivated when some of Selma’s former residents join our earthly plane and tell how they helped shape America’s history.