The Warner Transportation Museum in Tuscaloosa will permanently close soon to make way for a new campus for the Kentuck Arts Center.

As the Thread previously reported, the nonprofit is partnering with the city of Tuscaloosa to move into and upgrade the historic Queen City Pool House, which has housed the Transportation Museum for 13 years.

That new space for Kentuck will mean the closure of the museum, though, where staff has announced that this is their last week open to the public.

"Effective July 1, 2024, our Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum will close to the public following recently announced changes to the facility where we are housed. Thank you to our visitors and the community for your support over the last 13 years," they said in a release.

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The Museum, which the University of Alabama operates, opened in the space in December 2011. Since then, the museum has housed exhibits about Tuscaloosa's history and development, and about the impact of transportation on culture.


(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

“I am proud of the tireless effort and dedication by the Museum staff to achieve all that the Museum did over the years. It has been an honor to work in this space to educate the community on the vast and varied history of Tuscaloosa, and it will be greatly missed," said Katherine Edge, Director of the Warner Transportation Museum "We invite everyone to visit the various other museums at The University of Alabama.”

The Queen City Pool House, which houses the Museum and will become a second home for Kentuck, was designed and built by Don Buel Schuyler, a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice.

(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

The city operated the pool from its opening in 1943 until 1966, when they leased it for private management. City officials at the time said it was too expensive to operate, but others say they stepped away because desegregation ended the Queen City Pool's exclusivity to white families.

The facility closed in 1989, and the space stood vacant until the Alabama Department of Transportation awarded the city a grant to convert it into a museum. As that work was done, the pool was filled in and the museum opened in 2011. UA has run it since 2015, and they say almost 22,000 guests have visited since they took over.

The museum will close effective July 1, 2024, and the work to begin planning the Kentuck campus will begin in earnest.

For updates as they develop, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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