Monday, July 4, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 285: Visit the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum in Thomasville

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a huge fan of Alabama author Kathryn Tucker Windham and her popular series of books featuring ghost stories from Alabama and other Southern states. Over the years, I’ve read almost all of Tucker’s books and have visited many of the “haunted” locations in those books, but, for whatever reason, I’d never visited the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum in Thomasville. I put a trip to this museum on my “bucket list” several years ago and finally found the time to pay it a visit this past Tuesday.

The Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum opened on the campus of Alabama Southern Community College in Thomasville on June 1, 2003, which also happened to be Windham’s 85th birthday. Located within the college’s library, the museum includes seemingly dozens of hanging display boards that tell about the various facets of Windham’s life and career, complete with rare photos. You’ll also find display cases full of Windham memorabilia, including first edition copies of her books, various proclamations and resolutions in her honor, clothing, cameras and hats.

One whole room, called the “Windham Room,” is dedicated solely to Windham memorabilia and contains such items as her “story-telling dress” and apron. The center piece of this room is an old rocking chair that’s said to be the chair of the ghost Windham made famous, Jeffrey. Fans of Windham will know that Jeffrey is a ghost that began haunting Windham’s house in October 1966, and her experiences with Jeffrey got her interested in ghosts, which led to her writing her now well-known books.

Elsewhere in the museum you’ll find items donated to the museum in honor of and in memory of Windham, who passed away in June 2011 at the age of 93. Two of those items are particularly impressive. The first is a quilt made by Dorothy Shepard that features Windham and at least half a dozen ghosts. Elsewhere, in the center of the library’s main room, you’ll find a folk art sculpture of Windham by artist Charlie Lucas.

My two kids and I visited the museum on Tuesday morning and were fortunate to have Patsy Bennett to take the time to lead us on a full tour of the museum. Not only was she extremely friendly and accommodating, but she was also very knowledgeable about all of the items in the museum. Also on hand was Monica Helton, one of the college’s history instructors, who also accompanied us on a portion of the tour and told us much about Windham’s life and career.

If you’re a fan of Windham’s books, I highly encourage you to visit this museum for yourself. It’s open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

In the end, how many of you have visited the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum in Thomasville? What did you think about it? What other museums would you recommend visiting? What other Windham-related sites would you suggest? Let us know in the comments section below.

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