Sandee and her family have opened a mini-museum that is an homage to their paternal grandmother’s former roadside attraction museum, putting a lot of sweat equity into making this labor of love a reality.
If you’d ever been to central western Alabama in the sixties through the eighties, you’d perhaps heard of MaCile’s Museum of Miscellanea, an eclectic collection of bottles, dolls, arrowheads, stuffed animals, and so much more than you can imagine, filling house after house. Her personal collection became so big and so renown in the area, that she eventually opened it up to the public. People would make it a point to swing by Gordo to visit the unusual collection, and it eventually became quite a roadside attraction.
While the picture here may seem non-descript, each bottle, sign, and knicknack has a story, and each wall in each room is (or will be) filled with hundreds more such stories–some nostalgic, some funny, and some just plain macabre. :)
Even though the new museum and art studio is in its infancy, the family has plans, not only to honor their grandmother’s memory and her fondness for the unusual, but also to offer art/crafts/trade classes to the surrounding community. It’s plain to see that the vision MaCile had to share her corner of the world with others lives on through the generations, and most earnestly in the hearts of three of her granddaughters… Sherri, Sharon, and Sandee.
Update: I just found this online. It’s a recollection about MaCile’s Museum written by Ralph McAllister in 2008 as he describes his childhood visits:
My fascination with these types of things began early, probably before I was ten years old. My mother would take my brothers, sisters, cousins and me to see a museum similar to what one might call a room full of stuff.
It was a collection of anything you can imagine that can be manufactured; Dr. Pepper bottles from the 1950s, a pair of Civil War soldier’s shoes unearthed, stuffed animals native to the area, newspaper clippings, dress patterns, old wooden plows. The list goes on and on.
The museum I’m referring to was called Macille’s Museum of Miscellania. It was literally a room full of stuff used to hold, you guessed it, Macille’s miscellaneous stuff. The story there was that Ma’ Cile, a grandmother named Lucile, hoarded stuff in her home to the point that grandpa broke down and built an addition to hold it all. This continued to expand to an impressive-sized woodshed, more like a lumber shack, with addition upon addition. Later a doll house holding her collection was added.
Among the collection of buildings were a mock whiskey still, an old fox trot cabin and a relocated country store from the middle of the 20th century that even my mother had spent time in as a little girl. It was an impressive collection that kept me entertained for hours. I would think of the history of the items and the story behind the contraptions and gadgets that were strewn together the collection of miscellanea.