The George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum is a history museum and science exploration center in Dothan, Houston County, that highlights the achievements of famed agricultural researcher George Washington Carver (ca. 1865-1943). It also honors other African American men and women who have contributed to American society and history through the years.
G. W. Carver Interpretive Museum The museum is located in a formerly segregated and now-renovated Greyhound Bus Station in downtown Dothan. The station still has dual entrances and restroom facilities that were previously used for segregation during the Jim Crow era. The African American Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. purchased the building in 2000 and under the direction of sorority member Francina Williams the museum was opened in 2002. The city of Dothan provided financial assistance and assisted with promoting the museum as a tourist destination.
The Carver Room is a permanent exhibit that is dedicated to the achievements of the noted scientist and researcher at Tuskegee Institute (present-day Tuskegee University) who made numerous agricultural advance that helped generations of southern farmers. The museum also has a mural of Carver painted by Wes Hardin, who has also painted 11 other murals in downtown Dothan. In addition, Hardin illustrated the “Designing the World We Live In,” another permanent exhibit, which highlights three African American architects and builders who had significant careers. It showcases Julian Abele who designed more than 400 buildings in his place of birth, Philadelphia. Horace King, who was born enslaved eventually and achieved emancipation, is remembered for his many building projects in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi that consisted of bridges, homes, mills, and other buildings. The exhibit also features the Los Angeles-born Paul Revere Williams who was the first African American certified architect west of the Mississippi River and built homes for Hollywood stars, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz, as well as other public buildings in California and Nevada. The goal of this exhibit is to highlight the notable careers of African American architects in building prominent structures in American society.
Other African Americans celebrated at the museum include Alabama native Percy Lavon Julian (1899-1975), whose research was important in organic chemistry; Garrett Morgan (1877-1963), who invented a gas mask and a type of a traffic signal; and Elijah H. McCoy (1844-1929), who is credited with a number of innovations including an automatic lubricator that helped trains run for longer periods of time without stopping for maintenance. It also honors Charles R. Drew (1904-1950), a pioneering researcher in the field of blood transfusions, and Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), a self-taught astronomer and surveyor who helped plot the boundaries of the present-day District of Columbia with Andrew Ellicott, who later conducted the surveying that created the boundary between present-day Alabama and Florida.
There are also a Discovery Zone for science exploration and hands-on learning geared towards students from pre-K to the 12th grade and a Social Progress Heroes Timeline about African American inventors and innovators who contributed to science and society over the centuries, including Alabama native Mae Jemison (1956- ), the first African American woman in space. By focusing on the achievements of African Americans, the museum aims to highlight the significance of African Americans in history and their important contributions. The location of the museum, in a formerly segregated bus station, also helps underscore this narrative.
The museum is located in downtown Dothan at 305 North Foster Street. It is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only. Nearby are the Wiregrass Museum of Art, the Dothan Opera House, and the Dothan Murals public art project.