The Thomas McMillan Museum and Alabama Room is a local history museum and genealogical center located in the Fine Arts Center at Coastal Alabama Community College’s campus in Brewton, Escambia County. The museum and center are run by the Escambia County Historical Society.
The museum was founded in 1979 by the McMillan Fund, a local charity founded by Brewton native Ed Leigh McMillan II, who was involved in financially supporting a number of Brewton institutions. Housed in the museum are artifacts related to the local and regional history of southeast Alabama and northwest Florida. Native American artifacts include tools and fluted points and blades, some dating back 10,000 years. In addition, the museum displays shark teeth, ancient whale bones, and fossilized shells. Other exhibits showcase artifacts from the years prior to and including early statehood, medical devices and instruments used by a typical country doctor, artifacts relating to the Confederate States Army’s Camp Pollard, carpentry tools, a vintage printing press, and historical photos.
Other memorabilia includes the Colt Lightning .41 caliber pistol that the outlaw known as “Railroad Bill” used to murder Sheriff E. S. McMillan in Bluff Springs in 1895. The ensuing manhunt over the region ended when Constable J. Leonard McCowan shot Railroad Bill in Tidmore and Ward’s general store in nearby Atmore.
Other weapons and military memorabilia are on exhibit to interpret the cultural heritage of the region, particularly the nineteenth century when French, English, and Spanish colonists first came to the area, and their interactions with the Native Americans already living in the region. There are other items such as a doctor’s bag, a fireside popcorn popper, and a number of other miscellaneous objects. The Alabama Room is run by the Escambia County Historical Society and holds records and rare documents related to genealogy and other historical resources of the county. It is adjacent to the McMillian Museum in the Fine Arts Center. The historical society meets monthly at the facility.
The museum is located at Coastal Alabama Community College, 220 Alco Dr. It is open from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For other times and dates appointments must be made ahead by phone call or email. Admission is free.