Christmas comes early to museum

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This year, Christmas came early to the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

And, the Santa Claus that brought a truckload of gifts wasn’t wearing a red suit trimmed with white fur nor did he have a beard as white as the snow.

No. He came straight off a hay farm in Houston County but he was as generous as the jolly ol’ elf who pays visits to good little boys and girls on Christmas Eve. Maybe even more so.

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Jerry Peak, museum director, was obviously more than pleased and happy with the unexpected visit from Santa Claus.

“Just out of the blue, I got a call from William F. Church of Dothan,” Peak said. “He asked me if the museum could use a restored cotton gin and, as much as I appreciated the offer, I had to tell him that we really didn’t have a place for it right now.”

Peak said the museum has a cotton gin on the grounds and, with money tight, he really didn’t see how he could accept another one.

“But, Mr. Church said, ‘Well, what about a fully restored 1953 Dodge Workmaster truck,” Peak said. “And, I said, sure. We’d love to have a truck like that.”

But it was an all or nothing offer from ‘Santa,” so the Pioneer Museum of Alabama now has a fully restored 1953 Dodge Workmaster … and a cotton gin.

“We are very appreciative of both gifts and especially the truck,” Peak said. “We’ll use the classic truck for advertising purposes, in parades and at different events where we want visibility. These were great gifts to the museum and we are very grateful to Mr. Church for the donations.”

Peak said Church had visited the museum and showed an interest in the cotton gin and other items at the museum.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama is a major tourist attraction in Pike County. The museum offer tours to school groups and other organizations.

The museum also rents the Reunion Cabin for family and group events and the log church is sometimes used for weddings. Individual and family memberships are available throughout the year.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 until 5 p.m. on Sunday.