In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Explore the Museum of Measurement and Time

Take a few minutes and enjoy a fantastic museum in Jefferson.

What started at as a Christmas gift blossomed into one of the most impressive collections of clocks and measurement devices in the country. It’s definitely worth the time to visit the Museum of Measurement and Time in downtown Jefferson, Texas.

Museum owners Johnny and Edith Ingram opened the museum in 2010 with their own collections of American-made clocks, surveying equipment, calculating and other measuring devices and thousands of salt and pepper shakers.

Measuring through our long history!

Before retiring, Johnny Ingram practiced engineering and land surveys in and around Jefferson. While working, he wondered about how they did the process in the early times of the city and Marion County. That started his investigations and eventual acquiring of historical pieces related to surveying and measuring. See different lengths of chain set to official standards. Learn about the Vara measurement and why it is so important and unique to Texas. Discover the rare solar compass used in the mid 1800s. In addition, see how these measuring devices translated to the historical maps hanging in the museum.

Museum of Measurement and Time
A historic surveying compass

Tick Tock. Check out these clocks!

For Christmas 1960, Johnny gifted Edith with their first clock. Since then, they were fascinated with the different styles of American clocks out there. Their collection started in earnest with the addition of several Ingraham clocks due to the similarity with their last name of Ingram. Between their collection and donations, the museum holds over 550 clocks. Check out the novelty clocks or the American Cuckoo Clocks. One of the most historical pieces is the ten and a half foot grandfather clock brought to Jefferson by steamboat. All of the clocks do work but not set to the same time. That means every few minutes, a clock will strike the hour. One room houses a set of Calendar Clocks which not only tell the time, but the day as well.

Museum of Measurement and Time
One of the 550 clocks

This collection is nothing to ‘Shake’ a stick at!

One of the more traditional reminders of a trip or vacation included collecting something special from your destination. For some, it’s pictures and for others, it may be a spoon. For Edith Ingram, she collected salt and pepper shakers. Disappointed that she did not inherit her grandmother’s collection, she started her own. Her and Johnny visited every state (except Hawaii and Alaska) to pick up at least one salt and pepper shaker set. Along their journeys, the collection grew. When they decided to open the museum, the salt and pepper shakers had to be displayed. Between her assortment and donations by others, you can see over 1500 sets.


A small part of the Salt & Pepper collection

Something old is something new at the Museum of Measurement and Time!

The newest attraction at the Museum of Measurement and Time is the Mechanical Musical Instruments room. Johnny demonstrates some of the unique pieces from a ‘Traveling Preacher’ mechanical music box to the ‘Diamond Edison’ record player that plays ΒΌ inch thick records at 80 rpm. Also featured is a collection of 500+ records from the first person in history to have a song sell over a million copies. Vernon Dalhart claims that honor. In the early 1900s, he became one of the most popular country western singers of his time. Dalhart’s original name is Marion Slaughter and was born in Jefferson.

Johnny cranking and playing a mechanical musical instrument.

It’s worth your time!

You can spend a few hours at the museum located in historic Jefferson (301 North Polk Street). Visit Thursday through Saturday from 10:00am-5:00pm. Sundays hours run from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Admission is free but donations are accepted and greatly appreciated. See some more of their collection on their website.

Related Topics: Stop by the museum if you’re in town for the Train Show or the Quilt Show!

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