“Come and See” Clotilda: The Exhibition Now Open to the Public
The community of Africatown and people from surrounding areas came together on July 8, 2023 to celebrate the opening of Clotilda: The Exhibition at the Africatown Heritage House.
Africatown Community Day was a free, public event that provided a day of cultural performances, workshops and activities for the community.
The opening date of this exhibit holds a special significance in the Africatown community’s story. July 8 has traditionally been called “The Landing” by the descendants of the Clotilda’s survivors. This year marked 163 years since their ancestors arrived on American soil, against their will.
Director of the History Museum of Mobile and Lead Curator for Clotilda: The Exhibition Meg McCrummen Fowler, PhD said, “Over the course of the opening weekend, descendants of the 110 aboard the Clotilda gathered to view the exhibition. Time and time again, descendants would fall into conversation with each other and quickly discover that the person next to whom they were standing is a relative! Perhaps a great aunt or a cousin they’d never met.
The exhibition itself centers family – it celebrates the marriages and families the 110 created – and to see modern families find each other because of the exhibition was unforgettable.”
The unique story of Africatown and its founding, has attracted worldwide attention, with the opening of Clotilda: The Exhibition at the Africatown Heritage House being listed as a one of the Best Museum Opening in 2023 by National Geographic.
After viewing the exhibition, Mobile Chamber Vice President of Small Business Development, Darrell Randle stated,
“The opening of the Africatown Heritage House embraces the rich, diverse culture of Mobile. It showcases Mobile’s unique African American history by boosting tourism and expanding the economy for underserved communities and the region.”
The much-anticipated opening of this venture is a collaborative effort by Mobile County Commission, History Museum of Mobile, Alabama Historical Commission, City of Mobile, descendants and community groups and many others.
District One Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood said,
“The Mobile County Commission is pleased to provide the first new infrastructure to help share the unique story of Africatown and its founding, which is an important story of perseverance and resilience that has attracted worldwide attention. This is a joyous beginning.”
See all the photos from the Africatown Heritage House Dedication Ceremony on our Flickr account at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAMQDb.
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Fowler encourages the public to, “Come and see. This museum space is at the beginning of what Africatown needs, not the end.”
Reserve your tickets to see this amazing exhibit and learn more by clicking here.
- MOBILE COUNTY RESIDENTS – Free with ID or proof of residence, Donation encouraged
- Adults – $15.00
- Seniors (65+) – $9.00
- Active/Retired Military (w/ ID) – $9.00
- Students (18+ w/ID) – $9.00
- Children (6-18) – $8.00
- Children (5 and under) – FREE
- History Museum of Mobile Members – FREE | Purchase a membership here
*Following information is courtesy of Clotilda: The Exhibition
Africatown Heritage House is a community building that houses “Clotilda: The Exhibition,” to share the long-untold story of the nation’s last known slave ship, the Clotilda, and the community that was created by the vessel’s survivors and their descendants.
The facility was built by Mobile County Commission through an effort spearheaded by District 1 Commissioner Merceria Ludgood, but it was a collaborative project that involved several entities working in partnership with the community. These include but are not limited to:
- The History Museum of Mobile, which curated, constructed and funded “Clotilda: The Exhibition” with generous support from other organizations. (See related document for more details.) The museum operates Africatown Heritage House.
- The Alabama Historical Commission, which is leading the scientific efforts surrounding the search for, authentication and protection of the ship Clotilda and related artifacts.
- The City of Mobile, which financially contributed to the construction of the facility and provided other in-kind support. These efforts were led by the late City Councilman Levon Manzie.
- The Mobile County Public School System, which made the land available for the structure through a long-term lease with Mobile County Commission.
- Birmingham Southern College’s Southern Environmental Center, which designed and built the Memorial Garden.
- The Mobile Area Lodging Corporation (the Tourism Improvement District governing entity), which paid for plants in the Memorial Garden and furniture within the building.
*Following information is courtesy of Clotilda: The Exhibition
Africatown Heritage House is open from Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition has limited capacity, so tickets should be purchased in advance. Tickets are available online on Clotilda.com.
The exhibition has been curated, developed and designed by the History Museum of Mobile, in conjunction with the local community and the wider descendant community, and in consultation with experts around the country. Woven into the larger story, visitors can see and hear many primary-source reports and stories of individuals: their histories, their families, their resilient spirit. Inside the exhibition, they can follow a step-by-step chronology from the story’s West African origins through the founding and development of Africatown. Toward the end of the exhibition, visitors emerge into a space that looks toward the future of Africatown and invites visitors to respond to what they have seen.
The History Museum of Mobile curated, constructed and funded the exhibition and also operates Africatown Heritage House. The museum has received financial support from the following:
- Mobile County Commission
- Alabama Power Foundation
- Daniel Foundation of Alabama
- Alabama Historical Commission
- Crampton Trust
- Alabama State Council on the Arts
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.