Elmore County Museum The Elmore County Museum in Wetumpka, Elmore County, functions as both a museum and research repository. Its mission is to collect and preserve any materials that pertain to the county’s history as a resource for the community. It is located in the Old Wetumpka Post Office next to the Wetumpka Public Library. Its mission correlates with that of the Elmore County Historical Society and Museum Inc. which is to preserve and restore significant sites and structures and bring together people interested in the history, heritage, records, and genealogy of Elmore County.
The city museum had been located on Wharf Street in the Alliance Warehouse, the oldest building in Wetumpka. It moved into the former post office (ca. 1937) in 2006, after the city purchased it in 2002 to provide a large square space to showcase artifacts and materials. An interesting feature of the post office building is the observation stations (that came to be known as peep holes) located in the ceiling that were used to monitor postal employees working on the floor below. The museum has a rather large collection that staff hopes at some point to find more space to display, as some of it is being stored in the basement.
The museum emphasizes local history, and most of the items on display and in storage were donated by people with connections to the area. Exhibits include local art and pottery, artifacts found along the shore of the Coosa River, musical instruments, furniture, military uniforms, agricultural tools, textile machinery, needlepoints, women and children’s clothing, and silverware. Also on display are tools found at the site of the French colonial-period Fort Toulouse.
Wetumpka Crater Painting The museum’s exhibits provide information about local residents. For example, there is a section on Elmore County high schools that emphasizes student accomplishments. There also is a portrait of Wetumpka native Florence Golson Bateman (1891-1987) the noted composer, musician, and teacher who went blind as a teenager. (She was inducted in the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000.) Pictures of the Wetumpka Impact Crater depict the site of a crash by a cosmic object 83 million years ago that created a crescent-shaped ridge of hills. Other exhibits include razors and clippers from local barbers, a portrait of Narcissa Douglas Smith, who was the first citizen to be married in the Wetumpka Presbyterian Church (1865), military uniforms from World War I and II, and the tombstone of a local African American girl who worked at a local hotel. The museum also showcases documents, photos, and artifacts from the former Alabama State Penitentiary, which was located in Wetumpka to house the many gamblers in the area who needed to serve jail time. There are hands-on displays that include a typewriter, a collection of hats, and a keyboard with sheet music and instructions for guests to play the music of Florence Bateman.
The museum sponsors and hosts several annual events. During Halloween, the museum is a stop on the haunted tour of Elmore County and also helps to organize a tour of the local cemetery. For the Christmas season, it sets up an exhibit of snowmen. The museum sponsors events in downtown Wetumpka such as art walks and it hosts book talks and historical lectures.
The museum is located at 112 South Main Street. It is open for tours Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Nearby are Lake Jackson, Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Natinoal Historic Park, and the Wind Creek Wetumpka Casino and Hotel operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. In addition, Wetumpka is where several scenes of the screen adaptation of Daniel Wallace‘s novel Big Fish were filmed.