New Orleans may be the noisiest city in America to celebrate Mardi Gras but Mobile is the oldest. Carnival in the US is traceable back to 1703, some 15 years before New Orleans was even founded. Learn all this and more at the Mobile Carnival Museum!
Mardi Gras is celebrated around the world and has been for many centuries, springing from medieval Catholic rituals around the advent of Easter and, before that, pagan celebrations of spring.
When most of us think of Mardi Gras, visions of parades and beads and masks and … New Orleans come to mind, which is completely understandable but also misleading. Many think of New Orleans as the source of Mardi Gras in the US – when, in fact, that would be Mobile, AL. One fascinating Mardi Gras fact among many that you will find at the Mobile Carnival Museum.
Opened in 2005, the Mobile Carnival Museum is a direct result of a volunteer effort by local Mobilians from all walks of life who graciously donated their time and talents to help get the museum established.
The Mobile Carnival Museum documents and displays over 300 years of Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile, with displays telling the story of how this popular, religious-based celebration evolved into the week-long, occasionally raucous modern tradition it has become.
Inside the Mobile Carnival Museum’s 14 gallery rooms, you’ll see the gowns, trains, and jewels worn by the various queens of Carnival as well as the costumes of several, well-known parading societies’ jesters over the decades. Local families and secret societies donated historical royal robes, crowns, scepters, emblem costumes, favors, doubloons, and more.
Much more than just costumery, the Mobile Carnival Museum collections include original Mardi Gras art and posters by various area artists, historic, traditional ball invitations, doubloons, tableau designs, and several interactive exhibits that will put you in the middle of history!
Mobile Carnival Museum
355 Government St. Mobile, AL
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat – 9am to 4pm
Tue, Thu, Sun – Closed
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