Special to The Southwest Times
The “welcoming committee” greeting visitors to the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum are volunteers giving of their time and talents to have the museum open.
“The Ratcliffe,” as it is referred to, features Dr. Milton Brockmeyer’s to-scale replica of the Town of Pulaski of the 1950s and has been open to the public less than three months and welcomed over 1,600 visitors.
The welcoming committee volunteers feel deeply about the Museum’s mission and the role it can play in Pulaski’s future.
“I volunteer because I enjoy working in the community and meeting the public. I want to help promote our town, and I think the museum is a step in the right direction. People young and old are really amazed by the trains,” noted Shannon Collins, a frequent host on Tuesday evenings when the Ratcliffe is open during the same hours as The Chamber-sponsored “Marketplace” across the street at the historic Depot.
Carolyn Matthews, president of the board of the Wilderness Road Regional Museum in Newbern and daughter of county historian Lloyd Mathews, said she volunteers, “… because the museum is a wonderful resource for Pulaski . As an educator, I find it exciting to read the storyboards and learn more about the town’s history. I’ve also enjoyed talking with visitors. There were 65 people through the last time I volunteered.”
“I volunteer because the museum is the fulfillment of dream fr me. It is a treasure, and every time I’m there, I wander around in amazement,” noted Mayor Jeff Worrell, who, as a member of town council and now mayor, was among the strongest supporters of The Ratcliffe.
Sandy Payne, who has helped coordinate volunteer efforts, said that she keeps comming back to volunteer “ …because the visitors response to the mseum is so positive.”
Likewise, Tony Blair shares that he volunteers … “because its an opportunity for the older people to teach the younger peoples, and for the younger ones to learn. It’s an opportunity for all of us to help preserve our heritage.”
Council member Greg East volunteers because he enjoys talking to the visitors. “The museum gives me hope.
Finally Betty Lou Kirkner, daughter of former Mayor Raymond Ratcliffe, in whose honor the museum is named, in large measure due to his on commitment to preserve the town’s past, said, “I really enjoy talking to all the people when I volunteer. Everyone has a story.”
Want to add your name to the volunteer chorus? The Ratcliffe needs and wants you. You may call The Ratcliffe at 980-2307.