Monroe County Courthouse, Monroeville, Alabama.

Monroe County Courthouse, Monroeville AL, USA

Jo Cahill Authors' Lives, Literary Worlds 4 Comments

Visit the courtroom from To Kill a Mockingbird. Monroeville AL, US

EIGHT years after the publication of Harper Lee’s seminal work, To Kill a Mockingbird, the courthouse of her hometown opened as a part-time museum dedicated to her and her novel. In that time, she had won a Pulitzer Prize and the book had been converted to an Oscar-winning film. The museum became a full-time attraction in 1991.

Strongly influenced by the people and landscapes of her own childhood, the fictional town of Maycomb bears a strong resemblance to Monroeville, Alabama, where Lee lived for much of her life. Like Scout’s father, Atticus, Lee’s own father was a lawyer, and she spent a number of hours in the Monroe County Courthouse as a child, watching him argue cases. Visitors to the museum are now able to sit in that same gallery area and imagine themselves as either Harper Lee or Scout Finch, or to try their own imaginary cases, as all areas of the courthouse are open to be explored.

During the summer months, the town hosts a six-week season of a theatrical adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, and this is takes place in the courthouse and the streets outside. Volunteers are selected from the audience to play the role of jurors in the second act.

Famously media-shy, the museum’s exhibitions are based primarily on the novel and film rather than Harper Lee’s life. The information that is provided about her is drawn primarily from interviews given in the 1960s, as she did not give an interview after that time.

In addition to the exhibitions dedicated to Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, the courthouse also presents an exhibition devoted to Truman Capote. As children, the two writers became friends when Capote came to stay in Monroeville with his elderly cousins, the Faulks who were neighbours of the Lee family. Capote also features in To Kill a Mockingbird, in the character of Scout’s friend, Dill.

Photo credit: johntrainor / CC BY


Physical address: 31 North Alabama Avenue, Monroeville AL, USA

Phone number: +1 251 575-7433

Business hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 4pm; Saturday: 10am – 1pm


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About the Author

Jo Cahill


Jo's love of travel has taken her to far flung countries across the globe, and her love of books has seen her exploring even more distant times and places. Beyond the Lamp Post brings together these two passions, helping readers and travellers to explore the lives of their favourite authors and characters, through the places that inspired them.

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Comments 4

  1. It’s always so interesting to see the connections between an author’s life and their book! And that play adaptation inside the courthouse museum is such an interesting idea!

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