Birmingham Museum looks to create more memories with pavers, book

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 11, 2017

BIRMINGHAM — Next year, the city of Birmingham is turning the big 200.

A celebration two centuries in the making requires plenty of planning, so the Birmingham Museum is getting a head start with a special survey to ask residents what they’d like to see in next year’s commemorative publication.

“We’re inviting the public to tell us what they think would be the best way to commemorate Birmingham’s bicentennial,” said Leslie Pielack, director of the Birmingham Museum. “We’re looking ahead to December of 2018, so we’re planning ahead and considering all options.”

Just like scrapbooking, a milestone book takes time to plan and build. Pielack said that before plans begin for the content of the publication that will detail Birmingham’s past through present, the museum crew wants to find out what residents would prefer: an online or electronic publication, a smaller book or a series of books, or a larger photo collection volume suitable for a coffee table.

The book is just the first, and perhaps most intricate, step in what’s sure to be a long list of celebrations to mark the city’s 200th year.

“Birmingham has a significant milestone approaching next year, and efforts are underway to identify promotional opportunities for our 200th anniversary,” City Manager Joe Valentine said in an email. “The Birmingham Museum is currently gathering input on the best ways to celebrate this anniversary, and we welcome all ideas in order to make this a memorable celebration.”

While museum staff gets ready to build the book, the Friends of the Birmingham Museum, also known as the Birmingham Historical Society, is launching another round of sales for engraved brick pavers to be placed around the recently installed historic Hill School bell.

The commemorative pavers can be purchased at $100 and $250 levels, and inscriptions can mark anything from an important person to a special anniversary or a family name. Purchasers can select the wording and the placement site.

Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Friends of the Birmingham Museum, which operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to keep the museum up and running.

“The (organization) actively provides financial and volunteer support for the museum exhibits and collections, including funding for the Hill School bell outdoor structure project,” said Pielack of a gazebo erected late last year to house the historic bell. “Paver proceeds will be used by the Friends to complete additional landscaping near the bell as the museum landscape planning takes shape, and for other projects and programs in the coming year.”

To purchase a paver, visit or stop by the Birmingham Museum.

To participate in the resident survey for the bicentennial publication, visit There’s also a link to the survey on the Birmingham Museum’s Facebook page, and a hard copy is available at several places around the city, including in the Birmingham Museum lobby, at the Baldwin Public Library adult reference desk, at the Birmingham City Clerk’s Office and at the Birmingham Shopping District counter inside City Hall.

The Birmingham Museum is located at 556 W. Maple Road in downtown Birmingham.