History of the Columbus Collective Museums

Every museum has a history all its own. Our family is proud to serve as curators of our unique local history in Columbus, GA.

It all starts in 1987...

A native of Columbus, Georgia, noted local businessman and collector Allen M. Woodall, Jr. purchased two lunch boxes at an antique show in Atlanta in 1987 purely for nostalgia in their depictions of his childhood radio-show heroes in Dick Tracy and the Green Hornet.

The Lunch Box Museum is born

​From that modest beginning, Woodall delved deeper into his newfound interest in finding unusual and historic lunchboxes and soon amassed enough to put on display in The Lunch Box Museum he founded in 1990. Now a colorful time-warp encompassing 7,000-plus objects spanning a century of pop-culture milestones, this attraction in Columbus, Georgia has been featured on “CBS Sunday Morning,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Smithsonian magazine and in numerous travel guides attracting visitors from around the world.


Creating a collective

Building upon the growing enthusiasm and interest around his first museum, Woodall in 2021 hired his granddaughter Kaitlynn Ward Etheridge, who came from a background in sales with a strong track record in digital marketing, to help hone his vision for a lasting legacy in a vision for multiple museums in one location with specific collection areas of focus that together showcase something much larger than the sum of its parts. Establishing its IRS-certified 501c3 status in June 2021, this initiative has a mission to “present the evolution of pop culture and technology in America — with emphasis on the industrial heritage of Columbus, Georgia — to diverse audiences through colorful displays of unique objects and historical site recreations.”

Officially launched under the Columbus Collective Museums (“Home of the World-Famous Lunch Box Museum”) brand, these individual collections are all housed in the back portion of the Woodall’s River Market Antiques with interpretive signage and guided tours to educate visitors.