A visit to the Mobile Carnival Museum

Updated: Feb. 8, 2022 at 5:00 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mardi Gras is back... but between all the craziness you may want to take a stroll through the unique galleries of the Mobile Carnival Museum and get a glimpse of the history behind the party.

A Unique Visit

Cart Blackwell is the curator of the museum. He loves giving tours and explaining every detail of what makes Mardi Gras so special in Mobile.

“The Mobile Carnival Museum has the world’s largest collection of trains. Not Thomas on the track, but the trains that follow a monarch. Every single one of these textiles is locally designed and made,” Blackwell told us.

The trains are impressive. Each one is an intricate tapestry of Mobile history.

“They showcase wonderful artistry, the families that define carnival, and just the stories that are behind Mardi Gras. Each one is unique,” Blackwell said.

Galleries of Mobile History

Each gallery has a different theme; from the iconic music, to the throws that rain down from the floats. The Crewe of Columbus even has its own gallery to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

“A hundred years of artifacts and documents relating to the Crewe. We take you back to their very beginnings, their roots within the Catholic Church. Their first invitation. Photographs of their very first parades and other wonderful artifacts,” Blackwell said.

Like 1946…

They’ll likely be celebrating their centennial in front of huge crowds after a year scrubbed due to the pandemic. That’s happened before, in 1946 the parades came back after taking several years off because of WW2.

“That’s the only comparable that we have to this year. It’s going to be bigger, grander than ever and people are excited about it,” Blackwell said.

A Family Affair

Blackwell explained that Mobile Mardi Gras is a family affair, and when people visit the museum he wants them to understand the rich history that’s been created in Mobile.

“That we have such amazingly talented artists, seamstress’s, designers, choreographers. It amazing for a city of our size that we have such wonderful, amazing artists,” Blackwell said.

And a taste of all that that talent can be seen right off the parade route.