Saturday, October 24, 2009

Paul W. Bryan Museum – Tuscaloosa, Alabama

We are not big sports fans. Yes, we will watch the World Series, or the Super Bowl, or maybe a NASCAR race from time to time, but our TV is seldom tuned to ESPN. If there was an exception, it would probably be University of Alabama football (Roll Tide!). We try to catch as many of these games as possible. Since we are gone many weekends in the fall, this might amount to two or three games. Recently, Michael had the opportunity to be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, taking some classes through the University of Alabama. The Paul W. “Bear” Bryant Museum just happened to be next door to the building where Michael was taking his classes. If you know anything about college football, then you know the story of the Crimson Tide. They have won numerous bowl games, SEC title games, and twelve national championships. Football at the University of Alabama dates back to 1892. Exhibits at the museum trace the early days of football at the university, including early uniforms, footballs from winning games, even bumper stickers. There are numerous trophies from different games and numerous photographs. An added benefit is Bear Bryant’s office, re-created inside of the museum. The museum carries the exhibits all the way to the present, with a panel about current coach Nick Saban. There are numerous video panels with game highlights and interactive displays.

The Paul W. Bryant Museum opened in 1988. Admission is just $2.00 per adult. The facilities are handicapped accessible.

From the historian’s (Michael) point of view: the exhibits are well laid out, and follow a chronological approach to the football team’s history. The artifacts, from uniforms, to footballs, to trophies, to Bear Bryant’s office, are well done. If you are in Tuscaloosa, it is well worth the visit.

From the educator’s (Elizabeth) perspective: Elizabeth did not tour this museum.

From the eight-year-old’s (Nathaniel) perspective: Nathaniel did not get to tour this museum.

More information can be found by visiting the museum’s web site: Paul W. Bryant Museum