Opening in 1935, Carver Theatre was one of the leading venues for film and the performing arts for the African American community of Birmingham. Built during the Great Depression and expanded in the boom years following World War II, this theater offered all of the beauty and modern conveniences of some of the grandest downtown venues with air-conditioning and seating for 1300 patrons by 1945. Like other theaters, this downtown venue fell into disrepair as fewer residents patronized downtown theaters in the 1980s. In 1990, the city of Birmingham launched a project to restore the historic theater, which opened two venues—the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Museum and the performing arts center—in 1993.
The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame features two thousand square feet of exhibit space that convey the history and accomplishments of musicians with ties to the state of Alabama such as Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington. The museum dates back to meetings that began in 1978 and a variety of exhibits and events that connected Birmingham residents to the history of jazz music prior to the opening of the current museum on September 18, 1993. The museum sponsors performances around the city and works with teachers and community leaders to brings jazz to young people.