By Alaina Minshew
The Jones County News
July 24, 2019
Splash Mountain, a log ride at Disney World, is based on a Disney film called Song of the South. The film was based on the Uncle Remus stories written by an author from Eatonton, Joel Chandler Harris, and the Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton displays the history of those stories.
The Uncle Remus Museum is located at 214 South Oak Street in Eatonton and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission into the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children 5 to 12 years, and free for children under 5 years. Staff can be contacted at 706-485-6856.
Lynda Walker, museum manager, said she enjoys the people who come into the museum because she gets to teach them about something they might not know. She said it’s interesting to work at the museum. “The Uncle Remus Museum opened in 1963 in honor of Joel Chandler Harris, who is the author of 185 Uncle Remus stories,” she said. “This museum is important to learn the history behind those stories. You learn from history.” Walker said all the artifacts in the museum have been donated by various people. She said what she finds the most interesting about the museum is the history of Harris. “When he was working for the Savannah Morning News, he had to flee because of the Yellow Fever. He was hired by the Atlanta Constitution, where he began writing these stories. He didn’t mean for these stories to get popular,” Walker said. The museum manager said people loved the stories anyway. She said Harris wrote many other publications, but all people seem to remember him for is the Uncle Remus stories.
Georgia Smith, docent at the Uncle Remus Museum, said her grandmother told Uncle Remus stories to her as a child, so she always wanted to tell them to other people. She said the stories are important to learn from. “She told me this was our history being handed down to us orally because slaves couldn’t read or write,” she said. “I was in the medical field for 34 years, so I didn’t get to tell these stories until 13 years ago. I love it.” Smith said people should visit the museum because she believes they can’t progress if they don’t know the past. She said she’s blessed to be able to teach them about that past. “This is history, and I want young people to know it. I think people love the cabin the most because it’s so unique and there’s something here for everyone to learn,” the docent said.
At the museum, Walker said visitors can see many artifacts from the 1800s, old books of Harris’s work, his books in different languages, and much more. “People should visit the museum to learn about Mr. Harris and learn where the Uncle Remus stories started. Without Mr. Harris preserving these stories, they would be lost. It’s a little history of Putnam County, too,” the manager said.
Smith and Walker both said they hope to see many more visitors this summer that want to be informed about the history of the Uncle Remus stories. “I enjoy the people that come through. The museum has been here for a long time, but you have people from all over the world that come here,” Walker said. “It’s interesting to see what people know about the Uncle Remus stories and the history behind them.”
For more information about the Uncle Remus Museum, visit www.uncleremusmuseum.org .