Visitor Policies & Public Safety Guidelines

 The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is pleased to welcome back visitors after temporarily closing in 2020 due to COVID-19.  The historic galleries at The Institute are open to the public on Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., with the last admission at 2:00 pm. In order to control the number of visitors on site, advanced timed ticketing is required. Walk-ups are welcome while priority access will be given to timed ticket holders.


In order to maintain public safety, face coverings will be required for all staff and visitors, except for children 2 and under.  Any visitor showing signs of illness will be asked to visit at a later date.  All public spaces are sanitized and deep cleaned every day. Strategically selected areas are sanitized several times each hour. Social distancing guidelines are strictly enforced.  

  • Face covering required (except for children 2 and under)
  • Social distancing is required.
  • Visitors showing signs of illness will be asked to visit at a later date
  • Advanced online timed ticketing is required.
  • Last admission is at 2 p.m.
  • All bags must be smaller than 9 ½ inches x 8 ½ inches to be carried into the Institute. Any item not meeting this requirement should be left at home or in the car.  Medical bags and diaper/baby bags containing essentials will be allowed. (see bag policy below)
  • Water fountains are not available for use at this time.
  • No food or drink is allowed in the Galleries.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are available for visitor use throughout the Institute.
  • No touching of exhibits or exhibit cases.
  • No Smoking
  • No Soliciting
  • No Running, yelling and disruptive behavior
  • Shirt and footwear are required for entry
  • Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at
    all times
  • Strollers are permitted in museum spaces; however, be aware that
    our spaces are limited in size
  • Please place cell phones on silent mode or turn them
    off while in the galleries. If an important phone call is received,
    please leave the galleries to have your conversation.
  • Please do not touch or lean on the works of art, museum cases or
  • No pets will be allowed in the building, with the exception of service animals that are specifically trained to aid a disabled person as defined under the American Disabilities Act.

Bag Policy

As an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, the BCRI has modified and adopted the following bag policy. The Museum’s galleries have limited space. Backpacks and large bags can pose a hazard to artifacts and documents on display and even to other visitors. They can also cause significant damage to walls and signage. all bags are subject to possible inspection and tagging.

  • Please leave any items that need to be checked by security at home or in your vehicle to expedite entry.
  • Do not bring large daypacks, backpacks, backpack-style purses or luggage to the museum.
  • All bags must be smaller than 9 ½ inches x 8 ½ inches to be carried into any gallery or the Museum’s other public spaces.  Any item not meeting this requirement should be left at home or in your vehicle.  
  • All bags meeting this size restriction must be carried on the front or side of the person.  Nothing can be worn on the back in the galleries or the Museum’s other public spaces.
  • Only medical bags and diaper/baby bags containing essentials will be allowed into the galleries; and only after security has inspected and cleared the item(s). All cleared bags/item(s) will be labeled by a security officer prior to entering the galleries.
  • BCRI Administration and/or Security assume and accept no responsibility for stored bags.
  • BCRI reserves the right to deny admission for failure to adhere to this policy.


The BCRI permits still and video photography for noncommercial use only in its museums and exhibitions, unless otherwise posted. Due to possible damage to exhibits, flash photography is prohibited

  • For the safety of our visitors and collections, the BCRI prohibits the use of tripods, monopods, or selfie sticks in our museums. This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions. We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences—and leave the selfie sticks in their bags.
  • Working members of the media who need to use a tripod or monopod must obtain permission from the museum’s Gallery Manager and must be escorted by a museum staff member while in the building.


The Museum is fully accessible to all visitors. Special needs are met with
designated parking spaces and a ground level entrance adjacent to the
Museum parking lot. Ramps and elevators serve the entrance and lobby.
A limited number of wheelchairs are available at the security station near
the parking lot entrance. If you have any questions, please speak to the
Ticket Booth staff.


Women’s and men’s restrooms are located on the lower level and second
floor. There is a baby changing station near the women’s restroom, located
on the lower level near the elevators.


Requests of Chaperones

  • Please be responsible for your group. BCRI staff/volunteers rely on you to keep your group together while visiting the museum.
  • Encourage your students to learn. On tours, please invite your
    students to respond and ask questions.