"This is a big day for the Anniston museums," said Cheryl Bragg, executive director of the Natural History Museum. "We've waited many years for this dream to come true."
The sign is the culmination of two years' fundraising efforts by the Anniston Museum League, a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 2,000 members who raise money for events and improvements at the Natural History and Berman museums.
"For a long time we've wanted a new sign there," said Bragg. "We wanted something a little more up-to-date, and the Museum League has worked so hard, and finally raised enough and purchased it for us."
The sign will benefit the museums by advertising to drivers upcoming events such as this fall's live reptile and Gee's Bend quilt exhibits. Previously, such announcements were advertised on banners which were not effective, Bragg said.
"We were very interested in the digital component because the number of people who pass through that intersection each day is astronomical, and we would love to be able to advertise our events to those people," Bragg said. "It's a wonderful way to do that."
The Museum League donated $30,000 to buy the sign, said Judy Gould, who served as the 2006-08 Museum League president. The League serves as one of three boards that support the museums.
"We continually raise money (for the museums), and the staff comes to us with requests. They came with a request for a sign," Gould said. "We all feel that the museum is a special place, and are pleased to give of our time to help with financial requests from the staff."
Money is raised by volunteers annually through various fundraisers, including white elephant sales, bake sales and annual Home and Garden and Homes for the Holidays tours of local residences.
Though the new sign incorporates a modern, digital aspect, the architecture of the museums and Lagarde Park inspired the overall design.
"The digital component is not over-powering," Bragg said. "It's still a monumental sign on it's own."
She said that the League went through at least 20 different designs before settling on the one used. The sign was built and installed by Noble Signs.
Bragg assures fans of the old sign that it hasn't been done away with.
"For those who loved the original sign, it's been moved to a new home just outside of the museums," Bragg said.