Alabama’s Industrial Heritage
The museum traces the history of Alabama’s iron and steel industry from its earliest days. With exhibits that begin with displays of iron ore and the state’s mineral resources, the museum takes visitors on a walk through time.
Tannehill is an ideal place for the museum as the park also preserves the historic Tannehill Ironworks, a Civil War era complex that once produced iron for the Confederate military. Tannehill iron was used to make artillery, projectiles, cookware and a variety of other necessities for the Southern army and navy.
The Alabama Iron and Steel Museum features artifacts associated with the state’s Civil War furnaces, including Tannehill. These include Civil War artifacts and a reproduction mountain howitzer made from Tannehill iron.
From the state’s antebellum and Civil War industrial heritage, the museum guides visitors into the stunning development of the post-war iron and steel industry in Alabama. This includes walks past exhibits detailing how iron and steel was produced in a state that saw Birmingham rise to become one of the iron and steel production capitals of the world.
For thousands of Alabama workers across several generations, iron and steel put food on the table and made better lives possible. The glory days of the industry have passed, but the memories remain as part of the rich industrial and cultural heritage of the state.
The Iron and Steel Museum of Alabama is located at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park on the outskirts of Birmingham. The museum is accessible via the park, which can be accessed from Exit 100 on Interstate 59 or Exit 1 on Interstate 459.
The museum was opened to the public in 1981 and underwent major renovations in 2004-2005. It also houses the Walter B. Jones Center for Industrial Archaeology.