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 at the Mildred B. Harrison Regional Library in Columbiana 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.

In Fall 2000 a special wing of the library was built to display the collection. The collection is open to the public between 10:00 and 3:00 on weekdays.

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." Birmingham News
  • Kennedy, Veronica (July 11, 2010) "Columbiana museum boasts George Washington memorabilia." Birmingham News