Pioneer Museum of Alabama celebrates 50 years

Published 10:32 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

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The Pioneer Museum of Alabama celebrated its 50th year on Sunday afternoon with a large gathering of museum patrons, community members and travelers who just dropped  in on the celebration.

The celebration was a casual affair that stirred memories of the early days of the museum and hopes and plans for even greater growth during the next 50 years.

Barbara Tatom, museum director, said she was excited and pleased that so many from throughout the community and beyond came to celebrate the momentous occasion.

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“There was a good mix, from city officials to museum patrons to those who had not visited the museum in several years and also some newcomers, Tatom said. “The Montgomery Dulcimer Players provided background music that was very enjoyable and entertaining. Everyone had a good time reminiscing about the earlier days of the museum and really marveling at how far the museum has come in 50 relatively short years.”

Tatom said, conversations centered around how fortunate for Troy and Pike County that museum founder, the late Curren Farmer, had a vision for a museum of local history.

“I don’t know of any town or county our size that has a collection of pioneer artifacts as extensive as the one here at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.”

Farmer’s daughter, Julia Scruggs of Montgomery, said her dad would be very pleased with the leadership the museum board has provided over the years that has made it possible for the pioneer museum to continue to preserve the pioneer culture of rural South Alabama while growing to meet the challenges of changing times.

“My dad and mother, (historian Margaret Pace Farmer) would marvel at what the Pioneer Museum of Alabama has become and its promise for the future,” Scruggs said.

Dianne Smith, president of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society, said that, for 50 years and counting, the Pioneer Museum of Alabama has kept the history of the rural South on the forefront.

“Here, the history of Alabama pioneers is kept alive for all ages,” Smith said. “The extremely large number of artifacts and outbuildings is impressive and also the artwork that depicts our local history. The museum features re-enactments and living history events. This is a very impressive museum of local history.”

Marsha Boutwell, historical society member, agreed that the museum holds an important place in Pike County’s history.
“Just think, that, if Mr. Curren had not salvaged the many artifacts that were sitting out on the back 40s of Pike County, much of Pike County’s farming heritage would have been lost,” Boutwell said. “I applauded him and all of those who have continued to believe in and support his dream.”

Maggie Hammond, museum board member, said her appreciation for Alabama’s pioneers has been enhanced through her involvement with the museum.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved with the museum,” she said. “This museum is a Pike County treasure and we need to each do what we can to keep it moving forward.

Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves agreed.

“The Pioneer Museum of Alabama is a treasure,” Reeves said. “It has seemingly been a part of our community all my life. I have seen the museum grow to the amazing place it is today. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of all the Pioneer Museum of Alabama has to  offer now and in the future.”