Just a short drive from Birmingham, the Shelby County Museum & Archives is located in the Old Shelby County Courthouse in the charming town of Columbiana, AL. Built in 1854, the Old Shelby County Court House is a distinctive example of Jeffersonian Architecture and was designated a historic landmark in 1974 by the National Register of Historic Places. Within the walls of the courthouse, a world of information and artifacts has been meticulously preserved.Maintained by the Shelby County Historical Society, Inc., the building is also home to a highly respected archive containing research material such as books, microfilm and U.S. Federal Census Records from 1790. In addition to many old and rare books are histories of Shelby County families, communities, schools and churches. Shelby County, created February 7, 1818, is older than the state of Alabama. Our Shelby County newspapers date from 1866 to current. For your convenience we have on microfilm early records of other Alabama counties such a marriage certificates and newspapers.
The Museum displays many old Shelby County photographs and artifacts from the Indian Era through WWII, including such items as the bell from the Alabama, a well-known railroad engine during its time. Visitors can also see the contents of the cornerstone from the 1906 Courthouse, which was opened in 2006.
One room in the museum displays three chestnut wood cars and several feet of wood track that were found in 1974 in the forgotten Confederate Gurnee Coal Mine in west Shelby County. Another room features an 1884 Kimbrell organ that has been fully restored and a roll-top desk from the Shelby Iron Works Commissary that closed in 1922.
Each room is full of items that tell the story of Shelby County. I encourage you to make the trip to Columbiana and see what you can discover within the Shelby County Museum & Archives.
Plan a trip and see why the Shelby County Museum & Archives has been voted Best of the Best Museum in Shelby County for the past three years.
Hope to see you soon!