MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The controversial statue of Confederate Navy Admiral Raphael Semmes, which for years was on display in downtown Mobile, has a new permanent home at a history museum.
The Admiral Semmes statue will be a part of an exhibit in the History Museum of Mobile. This addition coming after the statue was removed in June of 2020, as Confederate monuments came down across the country.
After the statue was taken down and given to the museum, they began a process of research and curatorial work. Museum Director Meg Fowler said this process was collaborative and included a committee who consulted with a Civil War historian, two African American history historians, several civic leaders and other experts.
“The committee wanted to make sure that we heard from the community and at the end of the day the history museums job is to tell an accurate, factual and contextualized history,” Fowler said.
After hearing from those experts, the museum did its own research on how exactly the statue should be displayed. The statue now sits in the museum’s permanent ‘a timeline of Mobile’ installation. The exhibit preparation took several days, and the statue was installed Thursday.
It took a team of city employees and connections to a steel beam in the ceiling of the museum to get the 99 inch tall, 1,800 pound statue in place.
Its placement in the museum was also very intentional.
“What we know about exhibits is that objects get meaning from the context that they are put in and from the whole context of that timeline,” Fowler said. “That’s why it was important to put the Semmes statue in this timeline exhibit. Here the statue can be understood in the context of the civil war, reconstruction and the 1900 moment in which it was erected.”