New museum features life behind bars - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New museum features life behind bars

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June 9, 2003

Ashburn- For decades the clang of cell doors slamming shut was only familiar to those who were held or worked in the Turner County jail, but soon you can get a chance to experience life behind bars.

"We just knew we wanted to use the historic building as a museum to draw people into town. We really didn't know what we wanted to do with it at first, so we brought a consultant in from Atlanta who worked with museums and she said just use what you have. It's a jail, so why not make it a jail or crime and punishment museum," says Chamber of Commerce President, Shelley Zorn.

Visitors will get a chance to see dozens of artifacts used by jailers and even the original cells and hanging hook used almost a century ago.

"What was interesting to people who have toured it so far was that the inmates were housed upstairs and then the sheriff and his family lived downstairs," explains Zorn.

One of those families belonged to Wesley Fiveash who served as sheriff during the 50's.

"I appreciate what they're doing because the people need to know how far that law enforcement has come in this many years because it wasn't nothing like it is now back then," says former Sheriff Wesley Fiveash.

Now, the history that inmates and sheriffs lived will be shared by everyone who enters the jail.

The museum is scheduled to open its doors by mid-August. Former Sheriff Fiveash hasn't been to the jail since he retired, but says he can't wait to visit the museum.

Posted at 5:40 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com