Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum and Children’s Wing will soon undergo a technology upgrade thanks in part to a $150,000 grant from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama.
The project that is expected to take approximately a year will convert all current analog technology to digital, high-definition and marks the first major upgrade of the Museum since its opening in 2000.
The project will also include the reproduction of a video reenactment of the scene that took place aboard a Montgomery city bus that led to Mrs. Parks’ Dec. 1, 1955 arrest. The current video appears in the second room of the museum, which is often referred to as the “bus room” because it contains one of two of the original 1950s era buses. This bus-reenactment scene is original to the museum.
“The very successful and most talked about part of the museum, the bus reenactment, is going to be entirely reproduced,” said Ray White, Vice Chancellor of TROY’s Montgomery Campus. “A lot of people are mesmerized by that bus scene.”
White said the University has had initial consultations with museum stakeholders and is currently in the process of developing a design for the technology upgrades.
The museum, which is located on the spot of Mrs. Parks’ arrest, has attracted over one million visitors since it opened and serves as a valuable educational tool for Alabama school children, White said.
“This particular grant was awarded through the Daniel Foundation’s Education and Youth Category,” White said. “We have many K-12 students that come through the museum each year. About 45 percent of visitors to the museum are K-12 students, while 55 percent are adults from throughout the country and around the world. Of the museum visitors that are from Alabama, roughly 20 percent of those come from rural and underserved areas. The Rosa Parks Museum serves as a valuable educational tool that represents the beginning of the ‘Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement’ and many have characterized it as ‘the event that changed the world’.”
White said the technological improvements are one phase of a larger project to upgrade the museum. Future improvements will focus on the important roles that women and local churches played in success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
“Had it not been for the women of the movement and the leadership of the churches, talking about it from the pulpit and hosting meetings, the boycott may not have been successful and the segregation of the Montgomery city bus system may have lasted even longer than the 382-days,” White said. “It took both the boycott and the action of all those involved in it, along with the legal rulings through the court system to end segregation.”
Work on the technological upgrades could begin as early as May or June.
“We appreciate the great support of the Daniel Foundation for Troy University over the years. They support many great and worthy projects throughout the state that help to educate our youth in Alabama,” White said. “We believe that what we at Troy University do through the Rosa Parks Museum is critically important for the education of our youth. Mrs. Parks always emphasized the importance of educating children. It is funding support from generous organizations like the Daniel Foundation that makes that possible.”