TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Tuscaloosa has changed drastically over the past two years. Empty patches of land that were leveled by the April 27th tornado are now covered in new construction. New businesses and residential developments are springing from the ground at a rapid pace. In some areas, an outsider may not even guess a tornado once passed through, tearing everything in it’s path apart. Even though the city is changing and moving towards recovery, city officials and survivors want to remember how far they have come since 2011, and how much work is still left.
In time for the 2nd anniversary of the storms, Tuscaloosa’s transportation museum has been working to develop a unique exhibit that will preserve the images and memories of those first days after the tornado. ”Listening to the Storm: A Natural Disaster in Restrospective” is an oral history exhibit that opened this week. The exhibit features iPad listening stations, where vistors can listen to the stories of the first responders, survivors, and rebuilders. Community members were nominated to share their stories from April 27th to be used in the project. Museum officials have already collected between 50 and 60 oral histories of the storm. They have also collected photography of storm damage. They are still collecting storm stories, and plan to archive the histories. Officials say they want museum guests to be able to slip on a pair of headphones and fully understand what happened to Tuscaloosa on April 27th, 2011.
The exhibit runs through June 7th at the Mildred Westervelt Transportation Museum in Tuscaloosa.