Old Courthouse Museum
Restored to its 1930s appearance, our courtroom is the model for Harper Lee’s fictional courtroom settings in To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s now one of the most recognized courtrooms in America because of the popular film version of the book. Although the movie was not filmed here, the set designer came to Monroeville to measure, photograph and draw the courtroom before recreating it on a Hollywood sound stage. Today, fans of the classic novel come to the courthouse from all over the world because it is the most tangible connection to the book’s fictional Maycomb. Visitors are free to move throughout the courtroom, including the balcony, witness chair, judge’s bench and tables used by the prosecutor and defense attorney. Throughout her childhood, Harper Lee often sat in the balcony as she watched her father practice law in this very room.
The museum houses three permanent exhibits: Old Courthouse: Heart of the Community, Truman Capote: A Childhood in Monroeville, and Harper Lee: In Her Own Words.
Each April and May, the courtroom is the setting for the second act of the Mockingbird Players’ acclaimed production of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Construction began on the Monroe County Courthouse in 1903 and offices moved from the old antebellum courthouse on the square to the new building in 1904. When To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, the building gained national fame. In 1963 county offices moved to a new building on the square, and the community started looking at preserving the old courthouse with the idea of starting a museum. In 1968 a museum opened as a small part-time attraction. In 1991 the museum opened full time, and the first production of Christopher Sergel's adapted of To Kill a Mockingbird was performed in the courtroom. Restoration of the building also began in 1991, and the $2.5 million project was completed in 2002.
Open Year around
Tuesday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Download a guide (with floorplan) to the Old Courthouse Museum here. (pfd file)