The museum was started by an a Farley Berman, an American GI who married a French spy while stationed in North Africa. The two spent 40 years traveling the world and collecting antiques, oddities and weapons.
Farley Berman was never entirely clear about how some of the objects made their way back to Alabama. Some pieces, he suggested, might have made their way home in his bedroll after World War II; others, he liked to say, simply appeared magically in his house. One such piece that seem to have made its way home in his WII bedroll is a set of Hitler’s tea service.
Having been a spy Berman also liked to collect easily concealed weaponry, and has a fascinating collection of such items as “a flute that fires bullets, a tin of cough drops that conceals a tiny gun, an ink pen that can fire a .22 or a capsule of poison gas.”
We explored the Berman Museum on Obscura Day - March 20th, 2010. Photos, stories and more here