The Anniston Natural History Museum holds one of the oldest taxidermy collections in the United States, with over 1,000 mounted birds, exhibited with their nests and eggs in their original 19th Century dioramas. The collection was assembled by textile industrialist H. Severn Regar and originally Housed in his Regar Museum in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Regar and his wife Grace relocated to Alabama and donated to the City of Anniston in 1930. The collection was housed for decades in an addition to the city’s Carnegie Library.
Today, the museum has over 400 species of birds on display. Of special interest is the museum’s collection of passenger pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius). Formerly one of the most common birds in North America, passenger pigeons could once be seen in migratory flocks a mile wide and 300 miles long, containing upwards of a billion birds. There are tales of pigeon swarms darkening the skies for days at a time. Due to wide-scale commercial hunting and deforestation, the passenger pigeon is today extinct, but it and several other extinct species are still preserved in this small natural history museum.
Know Before You Go
Anniston Museum of Natural History is located in Lagarde Park, Anniston, Alabama, at the junction of Highways 431 and 21. From Interstate 20, exit 185, 7 miles north on Highway 21.