January 29, 2023

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Weeden House Museum – One of Alabama’s Treasure Keepers

Alabama is blessed with great tourist spots that provide moments of respite or even grand relaxation to the stressed visitors. There are resorts, beaches, camp sites, theme parks, and gardens from north to south that undoubtedly draw in millions of visitors a year. Among the most visited sights in Alabama is the Weeden House Museum. This museum is located at 300 Gates Avenue in Huntsville, Alabama.

The museum was originally built around 1819 by Henry C. Bradford and is considered to be a good example of Federal architecture. It is composed of two-story brick house with features that include a spiral staircase, an outstanding leaded glass entrance fanlight, and even hand-carved mantels.

During the Civil War, this museum was taken over for the use of Federal officers. This museum was the home of John McKinley, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and Barley M. Lowe. It is also the birthplace and lifelong home of countrywide famous artist and poet, Maria Howard Weeden (1846-1905).

After the Civil War, Maria Howard Weeden, whom the museum was named after, helped support her poor family by teaching art in the house. Maria was born in that very house on July 6, 1847 and as the youngest child in the Dr. William Weeden family, she had little formal art training. However, even without the formal training, she was actually quite well-known for her watercolor portraits of the old ex-slaves. Critics say that her art work was designed to reveal the character of the subjects in her paintings as well as their sense of humor and philosophy of life in associated poems written in their dialect. Maria had books that were published by Doubleday, McClure and Company.

Weeden House Museum is currently owned by the City of Huntsville and is leased by the Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association. It first opened as a house museum in 1981. From then on, many people have visited with the purpose of viewing the great works of art as well as the intricate architectural details.

Historic Homes Tour of different houses in the Twickenham District benefits The Weeden House Museum. The museum is open for all with a small entrance fee. This federal style house is also a favorite spot for weddings and receptions. However, the main goal of this museum is to preserve the furniture and architecture of the Federal period, making it a really an important home for cultural heritage of the state of Alabama.

It is definitely a vacation spot you don’t want to miss. You too will surely appreciate the detailed beauty in the Weeden House Museum.