The Alabama Department of Archives and History has collected records and artifacts for over 100 years and currently houses more than 45,000 cubic feet of records and more than 500,000 museum artifacts documenting life in Alabama from prehistoric times to the present. The department receives official historic records of state government, such as the records of the Governor and the Legislature; and collects materials from private individuals, such as letters, diaries, photographs, and artifacts. The department also maintains a collection of books relating to Alabama and newspapers published in Alabama.
Some of the strengths of the current collection include extensive Native American artifacts, especially those from the Historic Creek peoples; Civil War Confederate uniforms, flags, weapons, letters and diaries; antebellum planter class artifacts and records; World War I and II uniforms, weapons, war trophies, and records; 19th and early 20th century textiles, including quilts, coverlets, and clothing; and Alabama political and governmental artifacts and records, especially those relating to former Governor George C. Wallace. Highlights of the artifact collection include a very rare “Peace and Friendship” medal presented by President George Washington to a Creek Indian delegation; the Alabama State Bible, used in the inauguration of all Alabama governors since 1853 and at the inauguration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis; and boots, clothing, and guitars which belonged to Hank Williams, Sr.
Some time periods and topical areas are underrepresented in the current collections and the department is actively seeking donations in those areas.