The Rabun County Historical Society’s museum in downtown Clayton has been closed while undergoing an extensive renovation to accommodate important new exhibits. The Society expects to reopen the museum in the spring of 2021.
The renovation was undertaken to organize exhibits around the major developments and themes that have shaped the history of Rabun County and northeast Georgia. As a result, the public will be presented with a vivid and comprehensive history of this region.
A highlight of the museum will be a display of an extensive collection of Tallulah Falls Railroad memorabilia. Through its partnership with Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, the Society will preserve important railroad artifacts, vintage photos, and models. The exhibit will feature the railroad’s operations, legendary wooden trestles, depots and a 15-foot-high semaphore that signaled trains passing the old Dillard depot.
The museum’s new format also will include informative displays covering the area’s Native American heritage; Rabun County’s founding; the hydroelectric development of the Tallulah and Tugalo Rivers; the logging industry; moonshining; and life in 19th/early 20th century Rabun County.
The railroad artifacts were collected by the late Dess Oliver, a longtime industrial arts teacher at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School and founder of the Tallulah Falls Railroad Museum that was operated by the school.