What Is the George Washington Carver Museum?

Britt Archer

The George Washington Carver Museum seeks to give visitors a wide-ranging history and view of early African-American inventors, explorers and scientists, as well as noting the contributions of African–Americans to social change and to the military. The museum in Dothan, Alabama, was named after an agronomist and agricultural chemist who was born into slavery in 1861 and went on to become the director of agricultural research at the Tuskegee Normal Institute in 1896.

Washington also developed uses for other foods, including the pecan.
Washington also developed uses for other foods, including the pecan.

Several exhibits at the George Washington Carver Museum focus on the man who inspired the museum, plus other black inventors and scientists. The exhibits include one installation on the early years of black invention in the Southern United States, when inventions pertained to the South’s industry. A second exhibit focuses on explorations. A third exhibit showcases scientific contributions and discoveries, many of which helped the South’s agriculture to prosper.

George Washington Carver came up with hundred of uses for the peanut.
George Washington Carver came up with hundred of uses for the peanut.

Numerous inventors who were descended from the Caribbean and Africa have invented items that are taken for granted today, in fields as varied as medicine, industry and physics. These inventions include the blood bank, the lawn mower, the refrigerator, the clothes dryer, the electric trolley, the pencil sharpener and the dust pan, to name a few. Featured inventors at the George Washington Carver Museum include the inventor of the x-ray, George Alcorn; the inventor of the potato chip, George Crum; the blood bank inventor, Charles Drew; the inventor of 3-D glasses, Kenneth Dunkley; the gas mask inventor, Garrett Morgan; and the inventor of home security measures, Marie van Brittan Brown, among others.

George Washington Carver, as the museum’s namesake, is also showcased as the inventor of hundreds of peanut products, including peanut chocolate fudge and peanut mayonnaise. Other applications with peanuts are related to coffee, milk, flour, cheese, medicinal oils, soap, ink, and wood stains. He developed uses for sweet potatoes, pecans and soybeans, with sweet potato applications numbering more than 100, including the glue used on postage stamps, ink, vinegar, flour and molasses. He came up with a process of turning soybeans into paint products, and also developed new dyes.

Despite George Washington Carver’s inventions and discoveries that revolutionized agriculture, he only received three patents. His work showed that peanuts could be a viable and valuable crop, something that had not been known before. Peanuts, plus his method of crop rotation, improved the flagging agriculture of the south. The George Washington Carver Museum seeks to give him and other black inventors and pioneers their due.

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Discussion Comments


@kentuckycat - You are absolutely correct. I find it to be very interesting exactly what this place has to offer historians.

As someone who studies history there is a lot that one can do to study different types of history in a museum such as this.

One could look at technological history and the evolution of industry in the nation or the history of inventions, which is a type of history that is on the rise.

Another type of history that one could study at this museum is of course African American history, which is quite obvious.

This museum has more to offer than just meets the eye and is not as simple as one would think. It is a place that has a wealth of both cultural and technological knowledge and is a place that allows one to learn a lot from a wide array of different areas.


I have to say that this seems like a place that someone who is interested in inventions would love to go to.

It seems to me like there is a lot this museum has to offer as far as the inventions that African Americans have contributed over the years as well as a place that many people could look to in order to see what African Americans did to contribute to the technological growth of the nation.

It seems like there are many people that fit this description besides George Washington Carver and that this museum would be a great place for someone to research if they are looking at either the technological innovations of the South, African American history in the field of industry, or just invention in general.

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