Red Bay Museum
Upon entering the museum, the first exhibit is a recreation of the Red Bay Hotel lobby, complete with original counter, key holder, neon sign, room door with transom and staircase, all restored to their original grandeur. The next two exhibits to greet visitors are examples of general merchandise or dry goods stores. Included within these exhibits are cash registers, scales, filing systems, calendars, cheese cutter, wrapping paper, paper bags and many other items, too numerous to mention, that would have been used in these type businesses. Directly across the aisle you will discover an original soda fountain from an early drug store. The solid slabs of Tennessee pink marble that make up the soda fountain had been stored in a old building until they were reassembled and placed with the original ice cream tables and chairs. Many smaller items used in the drug store and soda fountain are displayed in one of the original display cases from the drug store. The Bay Theater is depicted next, showcasing the original ticket window glass, ceiling light fixtures, theater seats and player piano, used when the theater was first built for silent movies. This display, as well as the soda fountain , features tin ceilings saved from other old buildings that were located in Red Bay. The Red Bay depot, destroyed by fire in the early 1990s, is shown next. Many items stored in other places are displayed here, including one of the Red Bay signs that was on each end of the depot building, ticket counter, benches, scales, several telegraph instruments and many other items related to the depot and railroad. Located next to this exhibit is the display that house many items from different churches in the Red Bay area. Stained glass windows, pulpits, pulpit chairs, portal pump organ and a piano fill this display that depict an important part of many small towns, filling not only spiritual needs, but for many years a major social tool for the town's people. One of , if not the most, popular exhibits, is the original fixtures from Red Bay's first bank, the Bank of Red Bay. Featured are the cashier windows, vault door and ceiling lights. Discovered only a year or so before the museum construction, the windows, window gates and wrought iron grills were stripped and restored much to their original appearance. Tennessee pink marble adorns the base and window wells. The work counters behind the windows are also intact, showing where the tellers worked. Rounding out the down stairs area of the museum is an accountants desk, possibly used in an early mayor's office, telegraph pole with glass insulators, two man chain saw, area maps and much more. Working your way back up to the front and following the hotel stairs upward, you will find rooms that were rented out or used by the owners of what ever business was located down stairs. The first room features original furniture to the hotel dining room and another room has been created to resemble an actual hotel room as it might have looked in the early 1900s, again with original furniture. One of the newest exhibits is a room featuring items from many of the older homes in Red Bay, including an oak mantle, dresser, sewing machine, and other household items. Other exhibits on the top floor include items from Red Bay School, a jeweler's work desk, an early permanent machine for hair and works from early artisans. Old Red Bay School A special preview opening was held, at the museum, for Alabama First Lady Patsy Riley, who was in Red Bay to attend a play by the town's community theater. Alabama First Lady Patsy Riley during her visit at the Museum The Red Bay Civitan Club has been fortunate to receive some private donations and a grant from the Bureau of Tourism and Travel in Alabama, but a large portion of the money raised for the upkeep of the museum has come from "Clean Sweep" or rummage sales held throughout the year by the club. The club also sells ornaments of different land marks from Red Bay, as well as Red Bay afghans that depict some of these same landmarks. The museum is still seeking additional items and plans are underway to make new exhibits in upstairs rooms. One purpose of the museum is to preserve a way of life no longer here for future generations. Many items are display as they were used. Without the foresight and dedication of the Red Bay Civitan Club, many of these items would have been lost or never put on display. The rug that you first see when entering the museum proudly displays the Civitan emblem, letting everyone know that the museum is part of a Civitan International organization. Efforts are now underway to establish the museum as a separate organization from the Civitan Club, to make it eligible for more government grants. Donations of items relating to Red Bay continue to add to the already vast collection and more will be welcome. Many people have either donated items directly to the museum, while some have chosen to loan their items so that others can enjoy viewing them. A large portion of the top floor is dedicated to country music star Tammy Wynette, originally from Tremont, MS where she was born and went to school. Being the closest town to where she lived, she called Red Bay, Alabama her hometown where she shopped, visited relatives and went to the movie theater. Other exhibits include, church, military, home school, medical clinics, hotel dining room and kitchen, small business and industry - all recreations and memorbillia from each. Those who have items they wish to donate or loan, should contact the museum (firstname.lastname@example.org) through this website.
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