Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

#4 in Best Things To Do in Birmingham
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute picture
Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau

Key Info

520 16th St. N.

Details

Museums, Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.4scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute presents the moving story of the city's role in the civil rights movement, focusing not just on the past, but also on the continuing international struggle for human rights through permanent and temporary galleries. Exhibits detail some of the most significant events in Birmingham's history, including the tragic loss of life at the 16th Street Baptist Church during a bombing orchestrated by the Ku Klux Klan.

Most visitors call this museum a moving experience and a wonderful way to learn about the civil rights movement and its impact on our nation. Although the museum is family-friendly, some say the Confrontation Gallery (where visitors hear recorded voices of children and adults – both black and white – sharing sentiments they would only say behind closed doors) is disturbing and very emotional. Many recommend combining a visit to the institute with a walking tour of the downtown Civil Rights District.

You'll find the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in downtown Birmingham, across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church. Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission costs $15 for adults and $5 for children in fourth through 12th grade. Free parking is available behind the building. See the website for directions and more information on upcoming exhibits.

See all Hotels in Birmingham »

More Best Things To Do in Birmingham

Civil Rights District1 of 10
Birmingham Railroad Park2 of 10
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Civil Rights District

To learn more about Birmingham's role in the civil rights movement, plan a visit to the Civil Rights District. This six-block area in downtown Birmingham encompasses several historic sites, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, the A.G. Gaston Gardens and the Fourth Avenue Business District, among other points of interest.

Perhaps the most significant site is Kelly Ingram Park, which played host to civil rights rallies, demonstrations and confrontations in the 1960s, including the Children's Crusade. You can take a self-led walking tour through the park to learn about the notable protesters and the significant incidents of this turbulent time in the city's history, detailed by markers along the Freedom Walk route. The park is also home to the Four Spirits statues, which honor the four African American girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. To fully experience the walk, you can access a free audio tour from your cell phone by calling 205-307-5455.

Read more
Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau
See full list of Best Things To Do in Birmingham »

Explore More of Birmingham

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019