See a Piece of History at the Ratcliffe Museum

Ratcliffe Transportation Museum Preserves Pulaski's History
Posted on 02/07/2019
Transportation has been a cornerstone of society since the discovery of the wheel. Without that discovery, who knows how we would be getting to where we need to be, especially if where we need to be is a fair distance away. But thankfully, we did discover it. And through centuries of innovation, we now have the most sophisticated transportation systems, some of which were never even dreamt of. But remembering how we got here is vital to continuing our innovation. Enter the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Transportation Museum. 

The Ratcliffe Transportation Museum has been in the works for a very long time. Named for the late Mayor Ratcliffe, the museum was originally established in 1986 with the goal of telling the story of how the people of Pulaski handled the challenges and changes of the times. At first, the museum was set up in the basement of the municipal building. Even though the location itself was prime, the poor lighting and dank conditions left something to be desired. However, the museum would soon be moving locations to the historic stone Depot of 1888, which was successfully restored in 1994. Still though, space was the big limiting factor in their new location, as they had to compete with others for their share of the floor. 

Conversations soon began to take place concerning another new place for the museum. Due to concerns over finances and changes in Pulaski’s industry circle, the relocation of the museum was put on the backburner. Eventually though, construction began on a new independent building to house the museum in 2008. This new building was the space everyone had been looking for, with ideal storage options and plenty of room to display everything in the museum’s collection. Unfortunately, disaster would strike the museum in the form of a fire. 

The fire destroyed the building, with many of the items in the collection destroyed or severely damaged. Many would have looked at the circumstances and concluded that the museum wouldn’t reopen. But Pulaski refused defeat, and a new building was soon planned, one that would echo the industrial heart of the town itself. That building is still the museum’s home today, operating just across the railroad tracks from its original home in the municipal building. 

When it comes to what the museum has on display, they have a good variety of things to explore. An exhibit telling Pulaski’s history through commerce and an area with a walkthrough of the many fires Pulaski has suffered from throughout the years help to inform visitors of the rich past of Pulaski as well as the struggles they’ve had to endure. They also have an automotive gallery featuring several of Pulaski’s old firetrucks, and a train display depicting the town of Pulaski from the 1950s. 

So the next time you’re in town, you might find something to discover down at the Ratcliffe Transportation Museum. Stop by and pay them a visit; they often have limited time items on display!
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