Vulcan Park and Museum is committed to carrying its educational mission beyond the boundaries of the park and to offering assistance to resource-challenged schools.
Birmingham History on the Road [Grades 9-12]
The history of Birmingham extends far beyond Vulcan’s educational complex atop Red Mountain! To preserve some of Birmingham’s fascinating stories, we have commissioned seven new productions – three musical, four theatrical – showcasing individuals who have made significant contributions and highlighting pivotal events from Birmingham’s past.
Birmingham History on the Road productions last approximately one hour and can be presented in an auditorium or gym setting for large assemblies. Productions are offered in a limited number of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Costs and availability vary with each production.
- Washington & DuBois: Two Opinions, One Goal
This newly commissioned two man play recounts the lives of the two early civil rights activists, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. Comparing their philosophies of post-Civil War integration, this dramatic performance will capture the audience’s attention and highlight the complexity of changing a culture of racial discrimination, an issue that is still crucial today. Written by Lee Shackleford, and performed by David Parker and Antonio Mitchell.
- Crossing Lines
It’s 1938 and people from all over the country are coming to Birmingham for the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. Crossing Lines introduces us to a fictional Southern Conference attendee, Eunice, eager in her support of justice and opportunity. While staying in a segregated hotel, Eunice strikes up a friendship with a down-to-earth bellboy named Pete and sparks within him a passion to change Birmingham. Crossing Lines reminds us that the Old South and the New Deal lived side by side in Birmingham for a time.
- Sun Ra: Musician, Poet, and Philosopher
Born in 1912, the jazz legend Sun Ra began his musical journey as Herman Blount, training at Birmingham Industrial High School under Fess Whatley. As the Afro-futurist philosopher and bandleader Sun Ra, he became one of the most original musicians ever to perform. Sun Ra: Musician, Poet, and Philosopher features the Birmingham Seven performing original transcriptions from Sun Ra’s classic album Magic City.
- Too Many Questions: An Evening with Virginia Durr
Born in Birmingham in 1903, Virginia Durr grew up immersed in the conventions of the segregated South. But Durr broke with tradition and became one of the country’s most passionate voices for civil rights and labor reform. This one-act, one-woman play, based in part on Durr’s letters, was written by playwright Lee Shackleford and is performed by Ellise Mayor.
- Bobby Horton: The Stories of Alabama Folk Art
Multi-instrumentalist, composer and music historian Bobby Horton has established an international reputation performing music for film. Recently, Bobby considered how to translate Alabama’s folk art tradition into sound and story. Bobby Horton: The Stories of Alabama Folk Art explores the ties between these two worlds.
- Birmingham Breakdown: The Magic City in Popular Song
Ethel Waters and Lead Belly evoked the image of the southern steel city while singing the blues. Big band leaders, including Tommy Dorsey, Erskine Hawkins and Duke Ellington, made the Magic City swing. Birmingham Breakdown, performed by the Birmingham Seven, reminds us that, over the years, Birmingham has inspired a wealth of jazz and popular musicians.
- Love in the Ruins: The Mind of Walker Percy
Novelist Walker Percy’s family rose to prominence just as the city was beginning to capitalize on its mineral resources. His grandfather’s marriage to the daughter of iron magnate Henry DeBardeleben connected him to one of the city’s most important industrialists. Love in the Ruins, a one-act, one-man play inspired by the author’s writings, illustrates how Birmingham shaped Percy into one of the twentieth century’s most original authors.
- Alvin Vogtle Escapes
Written by local playwright Lee Shackleford, the one-act drama highlights the adventurous life of Birmingham native, Alvin Vogtle, whose story influenced the 1963 film “The Great Escape” starring Steve McQueen. During World War II, Vogtle attempted to escape German POW camps four times before succeeding on his fifth attempt in March 1945. After the war, Vogtle returned to Birmingham and worked as an attorney, and, in 1970, became the CEO of Southern Company. During his tenure as CEO, he made several tough decisions that resulted in the survival of the company during the energy crisis and its continued success today.
Vulcan's Traveling Trunk
Vulcan Park and Museum’s Traveling Trunk Series is a series of mini-museums that teachers can check out, at no cost, for the purpose of enhancing the classroom experience. There is a nominal fee for schools who wish to have a trunk mailed or delivered to their location. Students, particularly diverse learners, learn best when visuals and tactile activities are included in their lessons. Each trunk contains weekly lesson plans aligned with the Alabama Course of Study and structured around the latest trends and state mandates. There are three trunk themes to choose from: Industrial Birmingham: The People, Industrial Birmingham: The War, and Industrial Birmingham: STEM. Hands-on historical materials, some of which are actual artifacts for students to interact with, contribute to the actual museum experience. This outreach program helps students understand Birmingham’s history and the science behind its industries from the convenience of their classrooms. Lessons are primarily designed for students in grades 3-8 but can be applied to any grades K-12.
Vulcan Face to Face [Grades 2 - 5]
Vulcan Face to Face is a fun way to prepare students for their upcoming visit to Vulcan Park and Museum. Performed by Vulcan’s plush mascot “V” with support from a Vulcan Park and Museum education staff member, this interactive one hour classroom performance provides lessons on history, science and art, and excites students about future exploration of Vulcan. Cost and availability vary.
Thanks to the generosity of our funding partners, we can sometimes waive or reduce field trip costs for classrooms, primarily from under-served school districts. Funding may also be available for our outreach programs. Opportunities for grant-supported field trips and outreach programs are limited. Please contact Museum Program Coordinator at email@example.com to determine if your school is eligible.
Additionally, corporate donors and other funding agencies may have funds that can be used for educational field trips at Vulcan Park and Museum. Such sources require the school or teacher to apply. We are happy to provide links below to those sources as they become known to us. Please check back for updates.