Near the square in downtown Huntsville, AL is a square block that takes you back in time. Alabama Constitution Village is a re-creation of the city in 1819, the year the Alabama Constitution was drafted. Comprised of 4 main buildings and 7 outbuildings historical interpreters guide you through the Village and tell the story of the founding of the state.
Start your visit from the parking garage across the street. Be prepared with quarters – each space is metered and it's 50 cents per hour. Give yourself 2 to 3 hours to visit the Village and then you can walk across the street to see the Early Works Museum. The entrance to the museum is inside Downtown Grounds Coffee and is well sign posted.
You have your choice of walking through the buildings on your own or go on a guided tour. My advice – pick the guided tour. We started with the replica Liberty Bell and everyone got a chance to ring it.
From there we ventured into the cabinet maker's shop where we learned about wood working in the early 1800s. This building was also where the original Constitution of Alabama was written by 44 men which along with Alabama's population at the time of 68,000 people satisfied the requirements for Statehood (1. Land, 2. Constitution, 3. Minimum population of 60,000). In addition to all the history we learned we saw a wood working demonstration with historical tools and the kids got to play with some wooden toys that were made by hand in the workshop.
After the workshop the tour moved on to the town post office and the land surveyor's office. John Coffee, one of Andrew Jackson's closest friends, was tasked with surveying and mapping most of Alabama. Your guide will show you the tools and explain how it was done. There is also a black smith's shop with a working forge. It was not in use the day we visited but it may be on the day you visit.
After exploring the shops and businesses of the Village you then you get to see the home of a prominent attorney, John Nelson Spotswood Jones, including the slave quarters, kitchen, and his law office that doubled as Alabama's first public library. There is also a reproduction of a printing press that is the same type that produced Huntsville's first newspaper. Each child in our group got a chance to print a page and take their creation home.
Though the year, activities are on going in the Village including the blacksmith forge I mentioned, wool spinning, a loom to make rugs, dipping candles, cooking and gardening. You never know what will be demonstrated on the day your visit and what you could experience.
Family Fun Facts:
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, Closed January and February
Cost: $12/Adult, $10/Senior, $10/Youth, $5/Toddler
Disclosure: We were given tickets to visit Constitution Village by the Huntsville CVB. We appreciate their support of Nashville Fun For Families that allows us to spread the word of fun things to do in Nashville and beyond.