Pioneer Museum reveals a fascinating chapter in Alabama’s history

Published 8:06 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama provides visitors with a fascinating chapter in Alabama’s 200- year history.

On Tuesday, the Pioneer Museum of Alabama was bustling with excitement as participants in the Gunter Annex Summer Youth Program in Montgomery visited the museum to learn about pioneer life and to celebrate Alabama’s bicentennial year.

Dijonna Slaughter, a group leader, is a Troy native and suggested the Pioneer Museum of Alabama as field trip destination for the summer youth program.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“When I was young, I came to the museum often,” Slaughter said. “I remembered how much I enjoyed it and how much I learned. I thought it would be a good learning opportunity for our group and a way to get them more interested in Alabama history.”

And, what better time to learn about the Alabama pioneer way of life than the year 2019, the state’s bicentennial year, Slaughter said.

Dominique Houston, group leader, said the visit to the Pioneer Museum of Alabama was an “enlightening experience.”

“These young people don’t know how hard life was back then,” she said. “Touring this museum has given them an idea of the hardships the pioneers endured every day. To read about the pioneer days is one thing but to hear the stories about pioneer life in this setting makes the stories more understandable and really brings them to life.”

The program participants visited the museum’s main building and learned about the process that began with picking the cotton, spinning it to thread, and weaving it into cloth.

“I probably would not have had many clothes,” Aniya Harper said. “It took a lot of time and hard work to make cloth. I also don’t know if I could have protected myself from wild animals. Women had hard jobs. They didn’t have washing machines and dryers and had to put wood in the stove to cook. I don’t think I would have liked to do all that.”

The young people visited the Adams County Store and learned that, not only did country stores provide the necessary foods and supplies for the pioneers, they were also the gathering place for the community.

They were interested to learn that pioneer children had chores to do at home before they walked or rode mules to school. Once there, they were schooled in one room with children older and young. They also shared in the upkeep of the schoolhouse that included firing the potbellied stove in the winter.

The general consensus of the group was pioneer life was hard and they are proud to be living in the 21st century.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Barbara Tatom, museum director, invites people of all ages to visit the museum during the summer as Alabama celebrates 200 years of statehood in 2019.