American Village begins construction on Phase II of Independence Hall

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – A new, immersive educational experience is on the way to the American Village with the start of construction on Phase II of the Independence Hall Project.

A groundbreaking for the project was held in Montevallo on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

“Today, we’re celebrating the groundbreaking of Phase II of our Independence Hall Project,” said Alan Miller, president and CEO of American Village. “Phase II is going to be the main tower. It is going to significantly contribute to our ability to engage children and families with an incredibly immersive educational history experience here in American Village.”

American Village first broke ground on Phase I of the replica of Independence Hall on Feb. 22, 2020. A ribbon cutting was held for the west wing on Nov. 4, 2021.

“Since then, we’ve just gotten rave reviews about everything that’s inside that building,” Miller said. “It transports people back to Boston Harbor on the night of (the) Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s ride.”

The west wing of Independence Hall is comprised of an interactive, multi-media foyer and multi-sensory theatre. The 104-seat theatre is located in the back half of the building and displays the original film, “Choosing to Be an American People.”

“(Once) this central portion is completed, our visitors will be able to pass from Boston into Philadelphia,” Miller said. “They’ll walk into a portrait gallery where suddenly the portraits will come to life and begin to engage one another in debate and argue with the king until finally they are called into the assembly room where they have an opportunity to take a final vote on whether to declare their independence from Great Britain.”

The central tower will be constructed during Phase II and will include two floors of educational spaces.

“It’s just a very immersive educational experience,” Miller said. “We make sure every child that comes through here has an opportunity to see themselves in the history of our founding.”

Miller said that the project will increase the American Village’s capability to host students and visitors.

“Right now, we’re hosting about 35,000 students a year,” Miller said. “The completion of this building is going to boost that number up to about 100,000 with about 250,000 total guests every year.”

Miller shared the business’s plans for after the completion of the central tower.

“Once we complete the central portion of Independence Hall, we’ll have on phase left to go which is going to be the east wing,” he said. “That wing will transport our visitors into Virginia. We’ll have Boston, Philadelphia and Virginia represented throughout the building. And it really is, what I consider to be Phase I one of Tom Walker, our founder’s, original vision for American Village. All the exciting and fun educational pieces will be in place, and then we’ll get to move on to bigger and better adventures in the future.”

Miller said the American Village’s focus is on education.

“Our focus is education, but we achieve that through having fun,” he said. “This is a great place in the summertime for families. Come visit, spend a day here at American Village—having a really good time learning about American history, with an emphasis on the founding and our Charters of Freedom.”