The Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum and Library is a biographical museum located on the Coastal Alabama Community College campus in Thomasville, Clarke County. The museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the legacy of Windham (1918-2011), a well-known Alabama journalist, author, and storyteller who documented much of the state’s history and folklore, most notably its ghost stories.
Kathryn Tucker Windham Though born in Selma, Dallas County, Windham was raised in Thomasville. She started her professional writing career for The Thomasville Times when she was 12 years old. She graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Montgomery County, in 1939. She went on to work for the Alabama Journal as its first woman journalist, The Birmingham News in 1944, and the Selma-Times Journal in 1956. While at the Selma-Times Journal, Windham won multiple Associated Press awards for her work. Windham also wrote ghost story books based on local folklore, starting with 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey in 1969. She received a number of awards, honors, and accolades, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Montevallo in 1993, the Alabama Humanities Award in 2000, and was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2003 after a nomination from Harper Lee.
Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum in Thomasville The museum is located in the college library building on the campus. It was dedicated on June 2, 2003, Windham’s 85th birthday. The exhibit houses memorabilia such as early photos taken by Windham, including those she took with her first camera, a Kodak, which she received when she was 12 years old. Also on exhibit is the costume from her one-woman show about Julia Tutwiler, They Call Me Julia, which she performed across Alabama. The museum also features a sculpture of Windham by Charlie Lucas, the noted artist from Elmore County and close friend of Windham.
The college library also houses the Windham Room, a reading and archive space. The Coastal Alabama Community College and Alabama Folklife Association held the first Kathryn Tucker Windham Storytelling Bee in May 2019 as a project of the Kathryn Tucker Windham Storytelling Club at the college. The following June, the museum hosted the One Big Front Porch Storytelling Festival, a program of the Alabama Bicentennial and previously displayed the Making Alabama: A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit when it was exhibited in Clarke County. The museum has also hosted exhibits to celebrate Women’s History Month.
The museum is operated by the Coastal Alabama Community College. It is located on Highway 43 in Thomasville and open Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free. To the south in Grove Hill is the Clarke County Historical Museum.