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George Washington Carver, c1910.
George Washington Carver, c1910.

George Washington Carver Museum

Field review by the editors.

Tuskegee, Alabama

"Please Mr. Creator, will you tell me why the peanut was made?" George Washington Carver said he asked this of God after he'd convinced Southern farmers to save their soil by growing peanuts instead of cotton. What to do with all those peanuts?

God answered, and George Washington Carver invented peanut mayonnaise, instant coffee, and substitute asparagus; peanut face bleach, dandruff shampoo, and axle grease; peanut laxatives, diesel fuel, and goiter treatment.

George Washington Carver's lab was at Tuskegee University, and the campus converted its old laundry into a museum. Henry Ford dedicated the museum in 1941, embedding in its floor three auto parts made of "soybean plastic" that Carver helped to develop. The exhibits included his inventions, his artwork (he'd won an honorable mention at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair), and his natural history collection -- including giant vegetables in jars. Much has disappeared over the years due to fires and cautious curators, but the museum still has a "soil monolith" to show how Carver extracted paint pigments from Alabama clay; and a bust of Carver wearing his lab apron, cradling peanuts in his hands.

GWC should not be confused with Booker T. Washington, of whom there is a statue just down the street.

George Washington Carver Museum

1212 West Montgomery Rd, Tuskegee, AL
On the Tuskegee University campus. I-85 exit 38. Drive south on Notasulga Rd/Hwy 81 for a little over three miles, following Hwy 81. Once in Tuskegee, turn west onto Old Montgomery Rd and drive one mile. Turn right at the stoplight, through the brick gateway, and onto campus, then immediately turn right onto Campus Rd. The museum will be on the left.
Tu-F 9-4:30, by appt only. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Booker T. Washington and FriendBooker T. Washington and Friend, Tuskegee, AL - < 1 mi.
Bird Dog Statue, Field Trial Capital of the WorldBird Dog Statue, Field Trial Capital of the World, Union Springs, AL - 20 mi.
Marker: The Bottle: Lost Roadside WonderMarker: The Bottle: Lost Roadside Wonder, Auburn, AL - 21 mi.
In the region:
Lunch Box Museum, Columbus, GA - 43 mi.

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