John Brown House Museum, Rhode Island

The John Brown House Museum is located in a palatial mansion constructed in 1786, and features exhibits on Rhode Island furniture and decorative arts. John Brown (1736-1803) was a merchant and (as was not uncommon among colonial merchants) smuggler who had played an important role in the Gaspee affair of 1772, in which a British revenue ship was burned in a raid. After the Revolution, Brown made a fortune in (among other things) the China trade. The house is maintained and operated by the Rhode Island Historical Society, which has meticulously restored the house, even reproducing its original colors and French wallpapers. Many of the furnishings on display are original Brown family pieces. The John Brown House is also the Rhode Island Historical Society’s headquarters.

The John Brown House Museum is located at 52 Power Street, in Providence, Rhode Island 02906.

Belle Boyd House, West Virginia

The Belle Boyd House in Martinsburg was the girlhood home of Belle Boyd, one of the most famous Confederate spies. She provided valuable military information to General “Stonewall” Jackson during the spring 1862 campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Her exploits are legend in this region, and in 1992 The Berkeley County Historical Society purchased the home, saved it from destruction and preserved it in her memory. Renovations were completed on the Greek Revival home that was built in 1853 by Belle’s father, Ben Boyd. Today, the premises is the permanent home of The Berkeley County Historical Society and the Berkeley County Historic Landmarks Commission and two museums. Visitors are welcome to browse The Boyd Mason Civil War Museum collections that focus on local Civil War events and Belle Boyd. The Berkeley County Museum presents a general history of the area, and The Archives Section is available for genealogical research. Belle Boyd’s birthday is celebrated on the third weekend each May with a full schedule of Civil War activities.

The Belle Boyd House is located at 126 East Race Street in Martinsburg. WV.

Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame

The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame is housed in the historic Carver Theatre for the Performing Arts in North Birmingham, Alabama. The museum honors great jazz artists with ties to the state of Alabama through exhibits on musicians like Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Erskine Hawkins. Visitors can learn about the history of jazz from the beginnings of boogie woogie with Clarence “Pinetop” Smith to the jazz space journeys of Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Space Arkestra. The museum is a venue for live entertainment, with an active calendar of musical events. The Birmingham Heritage Band, which is affiliated with the museum, is one of the few active big bands in the country. The band was organized in 1976 by a group of veteran musicians who had played with many of the great bands of the country, and features instrumentation of legendary bands like Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Erskine Hawkins. The museum also sponsors jazz education programs for elementary school children, introducing jazz in their classrooms and providing live jazz artists to demonstrate their instruments and introduce basic concepts of music and the history of jazz.

The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame is located at 1631 4th Avenue, North Birmingham, AL 35203.