Learning history can be fun, especially if it’s the history of your town. Two exhibits highlighting the history of Anniston and Oxford bring viewers face to face with our heritage.

Illustrated panels listing milestones in the founding of Anniston fill the walls of the former city council chambers, which is now a conference room. The panels were moved to City Hall from an exhibit at the Anniston Museum of Natural History almost five years ago. It was then coordinated by the project’s research team and led by the late Julian Jenkins, guest curator.

The display provides a lesson on the foundation of Anniston from 1872, when the Woodstock Iron Company was organized by Samuel Noble and Daniel Tyler, through the early 1900s, with developments along the way that would make Anniston a model city.

There are documents recognizing districts and landmarks such as Hillside Cemetery and the Samuel Noble monument at 11th Street and Quintard Avenue, where Noble oversees the city.

The town’s opening to the public in 1883 is the focus of another panel as Anniston (first called "Annie’s Town" in honor of the wife of Tyler’s oldest son) became a bustling community. The arrival of the Georgia Pacific Railroad was the largest factor in town leaders’ decision that Anniston would no longer be a private town.

There’s also interesting reading on two Episcopal churches, Grace Church and St. Michael and All Angels, as well as the Anniston Inn and the Anniston Opera House.

Located on the corner of Noble and 10th streets, the construction of the opera house in 1883 was directed by William Noble, brother of Samuel. According to the panel’s information, it was an ornate and elegant structure, designed after the spacious Winter Garden Theatre, a Broadway house in New York City. The opera house, which hosted many touring companies and speakers, was later renamed The Noble Theatre. The building was demolished in 1963.

Anyone may see the Anniston history exhibit by appointment. Call Myra Bushard, executive assistant to the city manager, at 256-231-7705.

Oxford history exhibit

Until a hoped-for museum can be built in Oxford, the Oxford Performing Arts Center will be the home of the exhibit "Oxford: At the Crossroads of History."

For nearly two years, these photographs, letters and artifacts have been stored away, but the display will re-open on March 24 on the lower level of the center, according to exhibition coordinator Hunter Gentry.

"We are currently installing new carpeting and track lighting to ensure a high-quality space of which we may all be proud," he said.

Contributions of items or items on loan are needed, according to Gentry. Each piece brought in will be identified with the owner’s name to provide recognition.

The exhibit will be accessible from the elevator or through the balcony access stairways during OPAC events and during normal box office hours.

For more information, contact Gentry at 256-241-3322.

Spanish music at Foothills Piano Festival

Spanish-born duo-pianists Elena Martin and Jose Meliton will perform at the Foothills Piano Festival on the campus of Jacksonville State University on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The concert, which will be held in Mason Hall’s Performance Center, is free and open to the public.

The pianists, who live in Greensboro, N.C., will be playing music composed by Martin.

"They are engaging, fiery and entertaining," said Wendy Freeland, Foothills Piano Festival coordinator. "This concert is special because we will hear two pianos in sync as they bring to Alabama a taste of Spain. Elena will talk to us between selections about the compositions they will perform."

‘Sherlock Holmes’ features Anniston native

Rodney Clark, native of Anniston, portrays Professor Moriarty in the Alabama Shakespeare Festival production of "Sherlock Holmes," to be presented March 9-25.

Moriarty, a criminal mastermind, has two head-on confrontations with detective Sherlock Holmes in the play.

The script, with some humor and a large cast, also involves an innocent girl seized by an evil couple, a disastrous blackmail, a romantic sub-plot and more than one villain.

The play is recommended for ages 9 and up. The box office can be reached at 334-271-5333.

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at herveyfolsom@yahoo.com.