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Birmingham Museum seeking personal stories

The Birmingham Museum is looking to help celebrate Birmingham’s 200th anniversary with an exhibition that features stories crowd-sourced about the people of Birmingham, past and present.

In 2018, Birmingham will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its founding, when settler Elijah Willits first claimed his land parcel in what is now downtown Birmingham. The city has grown over the years, in a variety of unique and different ways, creating a dynamic, neighborhood-oriented city.

“This will be an exhibition ‘of the people by the people,’ said Birmingham museum director Leslie Pielack. “We want everyone, from students to seniors, to get in on this opportunity and share a story about someone from Birmingham who has made a lasting impression on them.”

Submissions can be about anyone from the present or the past. Perhaps there is a friend or family member, an ancestor, a neighbor, a famous person or someone less well known that would be wonderful to have shared with the community. Pielack said the material gathered will be used to create a panel display that will be placed in the museum and online.

Similar to archival initiatives such as National Public Radio’s Storycorps, the museum is primarily interested in the story and why the person is memorable, not exact facts. The museum will use the submitter’s own words when possible. And, says Pielack, “We will be able to add the material to our permanent archives, which will help us preserve this important information about Birmingham and its people.”

The museum has created an online form as well as hard copy for public submissions of approximately 200 words, including options for uploading digital photos. Deadlines of December 31, 2017, and March 31, 2018 are available for submissions for the exhibit, which will run throughout 2018. Photos or artifacts contributed by the public are especially welcome and will be displayed with the story panels.

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