In 1970, the circa 1860 jail was slated for demolition when a new jail facility was built. Due to the intervention of the Oxford Woman’s Club and other individuals, the jail was saved from that fate and for many years was used as a museum/meeting place. After being closed for a few years, the Historical Society obtained the lease from the county to operate a museum. After two years of design and fabrication, the Granville County Museum opened in June, 1996 in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Granville County. For four years the museum offered various exhibits about the county’s history. The size of the building limited growth of office and archival storage. With the opening of the Harris Exhibit Hall in 2000, the “old jail” location was closed. Needing a permanent exhibit about Granville County, a design firm was hired for assistance, committees of local people were formed and in November, 2006 the Granville County History Museum was opened in this location.
Beginning with the Native American Period through recent history, the story of the county is told through artifacts, murals, printed material, a movie and oral histories. The historical “heroes” of the county are interpreted in “light boxes”. Topics cover agriculture, education, architecture, industry, jail history and military. Hands-on exhibits are enjoyed especially by the children. Visitors have been delighted with the colorful and educational story of this county’s history in the building that originally held inmates Now it imprisons an impressive past!