October 17, 2014

New exhibition, La Storia: Birmingham’s Italian Community, now open

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – October 16, 2014 – This year, the Linn-Henley Gallery at Vulcan Park and Museum will feature a special exhibition, La Storia, honoring the city’s Italian American community and their long history in Birmingham. La Storia documents their contributions to the park and the community as a whole through pictures, artifacts, clothing, memorabilia, religious items and more. In addition to the gallery display, special events will be held throughout the year-long run of the exhibition. Vulcan Park and Museum will feature Italian cooking, insight into the Catholic Church, Italian music and poetry, and gallery talks. La Storia exhibit details: When: Now – September 2015 Museum hours: M-Sat: 10-6, Sun: 1-6 Where: Vulcan® Park and Museum 1701 Valley View Drive Birmingham, AL 35209 Price: Vulcan Members – FREE Adults – $6 Seniors (65+) / Military – $5 Children ages 5-12 – $4 Children 4 years and under – free Both the iconic Vulcan statue and the pedestal he stands upon display the Italian heritage that is prevalent throughout Vulcan Park and the Birmingham community. The statue was designed by Italian immigrant Giuseppe Moretti, whose vision came to life with the help of talented Italian artisans in his New Jersey Studio. The stone tower where Vulcan currently stands was crafted by Italian stonemasons upon the statue’s move to Red Mountain 75 years ago.

Italian Americans had a huge impact on not only Vulcan Park and Museum, but also the city itself, and La Storia tells the story of Italian immigration to the city of Birmingham from the late 1800s to the mid-20th century. The iron, steel and coal industries brought coal miners and factory workers to areas such as Ensley, Thomas and Blocton, and these factory workers, entrepreneurs, politicians, professionals and religious leaders of Italian descent played an important role in the history of this city. Some Italian immigrants found success making their living by opening small grocery stores, one of which grew into the large grocery chain known as Bruno’s. While the exhibit showcases prosperity for Italian immigrants, it also documents the hardships these immigrant families endured as a community and how they relied on faith and family to hold them together. “Vulcan would not stand where he is today without the contributions of our Italian American community,” says Dr. Philip Ratliff, Director of Education at Vulcan Park and Museum. “Over a year in the making, the La Storia exhibit was created in collaboration with the Italian American Heritage Society of Birmingham, who contributed oral histories, photos and artifacts that help make the exhibit personal and unique. As a result of our successful collaboration on La Storia, Vulcan Park and Museum is confident that visitors will be enlightened and entertained.” The La Storia exhibit would not have been possible without the combined efforts of the following: Italian American Heritage Society, National Endowment for the Humanities, Alabama Humanities Foundation, Rep. Paul Demarco, UAB Honors Program students, Kelton Design, Franks Global Media and STYLE Advertising. For more information, visit www.visitvulcan.com.

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