View Shelby County’s Museum Trail with a click of a mouse

Published 11:56 am Monday, March 26, 2012

By STACY WALKUP / Guest Columnist

A newly formed group known as the Shelby County Museum Association has come to the table in a collaborative manner, offering you its “Best Foot Forward” in the newly designed Shelby County’s Museum Trail.

You can now experience our local museums by touring the panoramic virtual tour by logging onto

This website will enable you to explore a map that lists the locations, and a clickable tab takes you right to the doors of the museum through a virtual venue that can be navigated by you, at your pace and convenience offering an experience like no other! Each site has an information box about the museum, featuring sound or music as a background, enabling you to truly experience the uniqueness of each historical museum or site.

“A panoramic virtual tour is a series of still photographs stitched together to give you a full effect as though you are standing there. You can see 360 degrees around from top to bottom and left to right as you use your mouse to control the museum image,” said Chuck Watkins, owner of Newleaf Designs. He and his wife Carla are South Shelby Chamber of Commerce ambassadors who have donated their time and services to create this opportunity.

The website and tour features the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington, Shelby County Historical Society Museum and Archives, Shelby Iron Works, Shelby Springs Confederate Cemetery, Heart of Dixie Railroad and Randall Museum at the American Village, Aldrich Coal Mine Museum, and the Alabama Firefighters Museum and Education Center. also offers a downloadable guide, virtual map, Google map of each location and a link to each museum website. The website will be updated as new museum in our county are opened.

A pamphlet guide may also be found at each museum location and will offer a commemorative gift by exploring each location and having your guide initialed at each museum. The guide is sponsored by Victory GMC.

Helen Harrison Phillips, Bobby Joe Seales, Dr. Robert Bridges and the members of The Shelby County Museum Association are preserving our history in Shelby County and without their efforts this would not be possible. As chambers of commerce, Shelby County’s tourism department and the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, it is our pleasure to promote it so that you can enjoy it! For more information you may contact us at 669-9075.

Stacy Walkup is executive director of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce. You can reach her at