Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington

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The Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington is a museum founded in 1982 by banker Karl C. Harrison.

The museum houses a collection of over 1,000 objects from the United States' Colonial period. Many were purchased from Charlotte Smith Weaver a descendant of Martha Washington whose family had settled in Calera. Others came from Ann Washington Leslie, a descendent of Washington's half-brother. In both cases, the collections were offered to Mount Vernon first, and Harrison bought what they didn't. Additional items came from the descendants of Robert E. Lee, himself a descendent of Martha Washington.

From its establishment, the collection was exhibited at the Mildred B. Harrison Regional Library in Columbiana. In 2000 a special wing of the library was constructed to house the museum. It was open to the public on weekdays only, between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM.

In 2024 the Harrison Museum announced that it would relocate to the American Village historical interpretive park in Montevallo. It is set to occupy the eastern wing of American Village's "Independence Hall" replica, opening in 2026.

Notable holdings

  • Martha's 1783 prayer book
  • A 1787 sketch of Mount Vernon drawn by Samuel Vaughn
  • Some of George Washington's surveying and drafting tools
  • Pint ale glasses and silver flatware used by the Washingtons
  • George Washington personal effects, including cufflinks
  • A cupboard built by Thomas Elfe which was used at Mount Vernon
  • Sevres porcelain tea set from the Washington estate
  • The 1710 handwritten will of Colonel Daniel Parke, whose grandson, Daniel Parke Custis, was the first wife of Martha Dandridge, who later married George Washington
  • A tintype photograph of Robert E. Lee
  • A note from George Washington, offering advice to a stepdaughter regarding marriage
  • Letters from Washington to Martha
  • Letters from Washington to President Madison
  • A walnut game table with tulip and rosewood inlay that belonged to Bushrod Washington
  • A remnant of the flag flying over the Appomatox Courthouse during Lee's surrender to Ulysses Grant.


  • Edge, Lynn. (June 17, 2006) "Much of Washington's family memorabilia just down the road." The Birmingham News
  • Kennedy, Veronica (July 11, 2010) "Columbiana museum boasts George Washington memorabilia." The Birmingham News
  • Heard, Jamarean (March 11, 2024) "George Washington exhibit, artifacts coming to Alabama’s American Village." AL.com