The Belhaven Memorial Museum is in many ways indistinguishable
from its countless local museum brethren. It has no money. It has no air conditioning.
It’s staffed by a nice senior citizen lady who would like to retire, but can’t
find anyone to take her place.
What makes Belhaven remarkable is that it holds the collections of Mrs. Eva
Blount Way, a seriously eccentric woman who simply couldn’t throw anything away.
Mrs. Way died in 1962 at age 92, and all the stuff originally in her home
was moved to the museum three years later. Her sprawling house, abandoned ever
since, crumbles on the outskirts of town. Prospective buyers are probably terrified
at the thought of what lies beneath its floorboards.
Exhibits of Note
- Three freak, prenatal babies in jars (given to Mrs. Way by the town doctor)
- Large, pickled tumors retrieved from the local hospital (the biggest weighs
ten pounds and fills a ten-gallon aquarium)
- A one-eyed fetal pig, a two-headed kitten, a harelipped dog, and mummified
- Several snakes killed by Mrs. Way; one stuffed, swallowing a wooden egg,
another made into a necktie
- A dress worn by a local 700-pound woman (she died in bed and had to be
craned out the window)
- An unspent Civil War shell
- A ten-inch-wide ball of string (saved by Mrs. Way)
- A German W.W.I half-boot (looks like it was amputated along with the foot)
- 30,000 buttons (collected by Mrs. Way)
- A flea bride and groom (may be viewed with a magnifying glass)
- Hideous ingrown toenails and cataracts
- Jars of Mrs. Way’s home canned products (now well over 30 years old), including
one blob labeled “chicken fat.” The museum sells souvenir cookbooks.
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