The Drive Thru Museum in Seale, Alabama is known as the world’s first drive thru art and antiques gallery.
The museum is a passion project for artist and collector, Butch Anthony, who is a lover and collector of all things curious. The drive thru museum is an offshoot of Butch’s Museum of Wonder in Seale.
Originally, the Museum of Wonder was Butch’s taxidermy shop and artifact room. Now, it boasts more than 10,000 pieces of art, artifacts, antiques, and strange items. Butch Anthony’s Drive-Thru Museum is just down the road from the Museum of Wonder. So convenient, you don’t even need to leave your car.
The Drive Thru Museum is a one of a kind roadside attraction that’s made from shipping containers. Windows cut into the sides of the containers reveal Butch Anthony’s art, his unique collections and statement pieces.
Clementine Hunter was born on Hidden Hill Plantation in 1886. At the age of 15, she moved to Melrose Plantation, just south of Natchitoches, Louisiana where she picked cotton and pecans in the 1920s and eventually became a domestic worker.
Clementine had spent much of her life laboring in fields but when she arrived at Melrose, she discovered paints and brushes left behind by a visiting artist. Clementine began “marking a picture” (her description of painting). Inside her cabin on the ground of Melrose, she “marked pictures” with scenes of plantation life including picking cotton, gathering pecans, washing clothes, ceremonial baptisms and funeral scenes. Clementine always used discarded items as her canvas including window shades, cardboard boxes, jugs, bottles and gourds.
For over 10 years I’ve had “Visit Gee’s Bend” on my Explore the South bucket list. And this week, I marked that item off my bucket list! While vacationing in my home state of Alabama, I was joined by my mom as we drove from Birmingham to the Black Belt region of the state to Gee’s Bend (known now as Boykin, Alabama). Gee’s Bend is a large bend in the Alabama River. There are about 700 residents in this small, remote, community and most are descendants of slaves. Few people have ever moved out of Gee’s Bend and few have ever moved in. This community has overcome hard times again and again. You can read the history of Gee’s Bend here so you can understand why the residents have such vivid stories to tell through their quilts.
Ornithologist, naturalist, and painter, John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was known for his detailed illustrations of birds in their natural habitats. 32 of his Birds of America series of paintings were completed here at Oakley House in Saint Francisville, Louisiana, where he served a short term tutoring the owner’s daughter.
The house is within a 100 acre-forest that now serves as the Audubon Historic Site. If you need a peaceful escape, you’ll love hearing a wide variety of birds singing throughout the site forest. It’s easy to understand why Audubon was so inspired while he lived and worked here. Visiting may just inspire you too!