Ratcliffe museum opening in May

maple shade stained glassBy MELINDA WILLIAMS


Town of Pulaski employees are hanging storyboards and pictures and making sure everything is in place for the official opening and dedication of the new Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum.

Town Manager John Hawley told Pulaski Town Council Tuesday that Saturday, May 4, at 11 a.m. has been set as dedication day for the museum, on S. Washington Avenue, next to Maple Shade Plaza.

Hawley said staff is working on setting hours of operation and lining up volunteers to man it. He welcomed input from the public on what would be the best hours to have the facility open.

Plans call for it to be open at least one Tuesday evening per month to draw from activities at The Marketplace (the farmer’s market to be operated at the train station by Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce).

“It would be nice if we could open it as much as we can, so we’ll be looking to the public to help us staff the museum this year and in the coming years,” said Hawley.

Economic Development Director John White said the town is pricing the possibility of selling prints of some of the better quality historic town photographs in a retail area in the museum. He is particularly interested in duplicating some of the photographs that were lost when the train station burned. They, luckily, had been digitized (scanned into a computer) prior to the fire.

The town has about 3,000 black and white photos, according to White. He called that “extraordinary considering the fact we had a huge fire.”

T-shirts and other items of interest for all ages also will be offered for sale. Funds from retail sales will go to the museum.

In order to keep the museum experience fresh, White said, displays are to be rotated. Classic cars also will be rotated into the museum from time to time to augment the three-dimensional displays, which include the Brockmeyer replica of the town and the historic fire trucks.

A decision has yet to be made on whether an admission fee should be charged, but White said all of the area museums town staff visited, particularly transportation museums, charged some kind of admission.






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