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“A Gem In Downtown Paducah”

William Clark Market House Museum
Ranked #12 of 35 things to do in Paducah
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Attraction details
Owner description: This wonderful Museum, Paducah's oldest and ONLY general history Museum, is housed in the block long 1905 Market House in the center of Paducah's historic downtown area. The Museum houses some of the finest and most unusual artifacts in the area, which illustrate Paducah's rich cultural and historic heritage. Explore a time line beginning with Native American residents, through Paducah's founding by famous explorer William Clark in 1827, and view the original hand drawn town maps and land grants signed by Clark. A superb, colorful Old Paris wedding vase, given as a wedding present to Clark by the Marquis deLafayette, is also on display. Also experience the magnificence of the complete DuBois Robertson Drug Store golden oak woodwork interior... a hand carved masterpiece from 1877...and gaze through the colorful panes of the original stained glass windows. On permanent display is the town's first motorized fire truck (a 1913 LaFrance!) Experience an extensive Civil War display including furniture used by the Lincoln's, as well as Generals US Grant and Lew Wallace while they were in Paducah (Wallace was of Ben Hur fame.) A very special quilt made by Mrs Robert E Lee is also on display. A Kentucky Orphan's reunion ribbon insignia display is always a favorite, as well as elaborate hoop skirt dresses, beautiful rosewood furniture and a stately antique lamp with pigeon's blood shade, once owned by Paducahan John T Scopes' grandmother (of the Scopes Monkey Trial fame.) A 'Kentucky Headline' exhibit depicts the sad plight of Floyd Collins, who was tragically trapped and died in a cave. The story caught the breathless attention of the nation in 1925. Our 'Hall of Heroes', designed in 2013, honors Paducah firefighters, law enforcement and military personnel. Newly opened in 2014 is the Alben W. Barkley Memorial Room, honoring the Paducah area native who was 35th Vice President under Harry S. Truman. The exhibit is in a separate room, and devoted entirely to personal artifacts and belongings of Barkley, including his 1898 'surrey with the fringe on top', his inaugural tophat, as well as lovely, century old furniture from the home in Paducah, called 'ANGLES'. The first ever Vice Presidential flag and items from his Paducah law office and Washington political career are also on display. The Museum prides itself on now being Paducah's Barkley destination! A small but tastefully stocked gift shop is on premises and carries items of educational content, books, puzzles, etc., as well as ephemera and souvenirs. PLEASE NOTE: The Museum is sometimes closed on major holiday Saturdays, so please call ahead for verification. The facility closes for the winter season Dec 15th and reopens the first Saturday in March. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-4, CST.
Dallas, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
2,371 reviews
474 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 981 helpful votes
“A Gem In Downtown Paducah”
Reviewed 11 August 2012

I grew up in Paducah and was in the market place hundreds of times and never knew it was named "William Clark". Just shows that you can continue to learn about history evrey single day. The Market House was once a thriving retail center on Second Street where shoppers could purchase fresh meats of all kinds, as well as home made jellies, preserves and jams. in addition they could purchase many freshly grown vegetables and fruits either inside the stalls or on the streets close by on Kentucky Avenue.

The Market House now houses a nice museum and small theater. If you are in the downtown Paducah area this is one the stops you should make. Viewing what is lodged inside today and picturing the past as it was.

Visited August 2012
7 Thank texaswillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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49 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2012

This museum is conveniently located in the historic district. For tourists, it gives you a good understanding of what life was like in Paducah over the last century. We enjoyed reading the information that accompanied each exhibit about famous people or inventions from that locale. The museum is small and housed on two levels in a quaint building in the shopping district. There is a nominal fee for admission.

Visited November 2011
5 Thank laman1girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newbern, Tennessee
Level 6 Contributor
162 reviews
125 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 656 helpful votes
“Nice, small museum loaded with beautiful woodworks and history”
Reviewed 4 June 2008

In the middle section of the old Market House, in Paducah, is a fantastic museum worth a stop while downtown. The Market House Museum features some incredible woodworkings from the interior of an 1877 drugstore, along with an old city fire truck, telephone switchboard, the bell of the U.S.S. Paducah, and Civil War items.

Of all the items, it's the drugstore setup that stands out, and takes up the majority of the museum. The drug store was about to be torn down. It was decided to preserve the interior section in this museum. The old medicine cabnets even contain some of the actual medicines used at the time - still in original bottles.

For long-time residents, it's a trip down memory lane, especially with photos of the old amuseument park that use to be in Noble Park. In the upper section that you are allowed to go in is an extensive collection of Civil War items, photos, and paintings. Also, don't miss the pole in the museum showing how high the waters of 1937 reached. It'll be way over everyone's head.

The museum is open March thru December, Monday thru Saturdays, Noon-4p.m. Admission is $1-4, depending on age, with age six and under free. Note: If a passenger riverboat is scheduled in, the museum will open early. Checkout the Paducah visitors website for port schedules.

7 Thank DyersburgTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
“Great ambiance and lots of character”
Reviewed 3 March 2006

This is a really great local history museum. The building is over 100 years old and was once the public market. Hence the name, Market House Museum.
The Museum is in the tallest central section and has bright yellow signs which will guide you to the Museum's doors on each side of the building, located two blocks from Paducah's historic riverfront.
he most beautiful thing at the Market House Museum, which I believe is in its 38th year in 2006, has the complete interior of an 1877 drugstore interior, all the lovely, intricately carved oak woodwork having been done in the Eastlake style. It's simply unbelievable to see it. All of the original elaborate stained glass from the drugstore (all three floors of the original building) are there to admire, too. The whole thing was relocated to the Market House Museum about 1964.
Plus, they have a fantastic Civil War collection including different sets of furniture used by Lincoln and Grant (when Grant was in Paducah in 1861.) A Kentucky Orphan Brigade insignia collection is there, as well as a quilt made by none other than Mrs Robert E Lee. Hoop dresses are on dress forms and are quite lovely to see.
They also have exhibits that deal with famous locals like VP Alben Barkley, and people who claim connections with paducah, like the Grand Ole opry Star of the 1930's, Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah.
And a real Little Orphan Annie lived in Paducah, and the recipe for Krispy Kreme donuts was born there! Two of the Museum's 40 or so exhibits are currently seen on Cable television.
One of the best exhibits deals with WWII...and includes a Pearl Harbor survivor story from Paducah, which contains some of the deck of the USS Arizona, and the veteran's original scrapbook, which can be viewed by visitors. The gentleman who hung from the church steeple during a paratrooper invasion with D Day (I forgot his name) is from there, too.
They also have a great 1913 laFrance firetruck, shiny red and brass (Paducah's first motorized, of course.) The artifacts of all the exhibits are well placed in cases with these great storyboards that allow you to learn as much or as little as you want about each item.
This museum is one that you need to allow an hour or so to browse through. They have gracious hostesses who will help you if you so desire but with the storyboards, its really fun to go through on your own speed.
The Executive Director was on site the day we were there and really made Paducah's civil war history come alive for some of the youngsters who were visiting.
In case anyone is curious, their brochure states that they are open Mon-Sat 12-4 pm but they open at 9 am when paddle wheelers are docked at the foot of Broadway. Their phone number is 270-443-7759. They are open from the first Saturday in March till December 20th of each year, and have rotating exhibits.
Hope that you stop by this place if you get a chance...it's worth going through this small museum with a great big heart!

10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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