Historic courthouse turns modern
Museum hides inside one of McDonough's original buildings.
March 14, 2019
Hidden inside one of the original former courthouses off the square of McDonough is the Image Doctor’s Camera Museum. This museum opened in Oct. 2018 and is fascinated by many as it is a museum and an escape room.
“It’s been very successful. We’ve had a lot of people come and coming from all over the place to visit the museum. We’ve had them come as far as Birmingham, Greenville, South Carolina. To play the escape game, they are coming as far as Macon and Cherokee County and Athens. It’s really taken off…We’ve sold out in the last six weeks in a row,” Scott Evans, owner, said.
In the past couple of years, Evans’ life revolved around photography, whether it is the mechanics of a photograph, restoring a photograph or just the fascination of history of photography and only wanted to show others how he sees photography.
“For years, we’ve been on the square as the Image Doctor Photograph Restoration but we do so much more than just photograph restoration. For one, we built a museum and we deal with any kind of obsolete media or displays… We supplied almost all of the imagery that’s going in the new Polk building museum on the square…I built all of the displays. This is my camera collection. We did all of the research on the cameras and we laid it out for everybody to see,” Evans said.
For those who love history, not only is the museum a historical aspect, but the collection is as well.
“We have a collection of cameras from the 1890s all the way to the 1990s, so we cover a 100-year span as far as the cameras themselves go, but the images that we have cover about 180 years worth of photography,” Evans said.
The idea of the creation of the museum was not established at a planning meeting or on the phone with someone but in an unusual setting.
“Three years ago this month [March] actually, my wife and I visited the Almond Brothers’ big house museum in Macon…It’s a house that the Almond Brothers’ band lived in in the late 60s early 70s and wrote most of their famous songs in that house…We looked all through it and it took about 45 minutes. On the way out, I asked the lady selling the tickets ‘How many people have you had in here today?’ and she said ‘Oh it’s a slow day. It’s terribly slow, maybe because it’s a pretty day. We’ve probably only had 80 people in here.’ and they’ve only been open three hours, so I said to myself ‘seven dollars and fifty cents times 80 on a slow day, huh I ought to open up a museum’ and so we did,” Evans said.
This museum is different than others because Evans is the only owner of both the museum and the entire collection.
“We took no public money. There was no loan and there is no grant. This is all privately funded by basically me,” Evans said.
For Evans, the process of establishing the museum was a struggle, but in the end Evans is proud of overcoming the struggle of creating the museum.
“Just dream it up and do it. Don’t be afraid someone is going to say that’s stupid, because a lot of people say ‘That’s stupid. Who’s going to go to a camera museum?’ People are coming out of the woodwork coming to the museum,” Evans said.
Another thing that makes this museum more unique is there are a variety of opportunities inside the building, including photography classes, business meeting space and an escape room. Instead of being in one room to escape from, those who wish to escape have the entire museum full of riddles and clues.
A group of coworkers from Georgia Power decided to pay their own way to experience a team bonding atmosphere and will be visiting the museum in the upcoming week.
“The idea came up really from the team. They wanted to go a group team building activity and a lot of ideas were thrown out but the supervisor actually threw that out and we all thought it was a really good idea…I think it’ll be really fun with the group trying to figure out how to escape the museum as a team and I heard that the museum is really large and I heard that there are different rooms like old jail cells…I’m excited to not only escape the museum but also see those old rooms and memorabilia,” Kimberleigh Mueller, junior accounting specialist, said.
Along with the history of McDonough and the original buildings, some are hoping to experience the history of the town.
“I love the paranormal aspect of it, so super excited to see if I can have a supernatural experience,” Ashli Buchanan, junior accounting specialist, said.
Those who wish to visit the museum can visit Wednesday to Saturday 10:30am to 2:00pm with advanced ticket purchases at $7.50 per ticket. For tickets and more information about the museum can be found at https://www.camera-museum.org/.