Located in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs is one of the most unique museums that we have ever encountered.
A fellow named James Ruddy had spent decades acquiring general store merchandise and memorabilia. Some of the items were bought directly from a Midwest Depression Era liquidator who had kept the products in his basement for over 40 years. More than 6,000 of the items are in their original condition and 95% are filled with their original contents. So, that box of 1930’s Uneeda biscuits probably have the original biscuits inside.
In 1987, the museum was completed and in 2003, Mr. Ruddy donated the entire building and its contents to the City of Palm Springs in addition to an endowment fund.
Unfortunately, Mr. Ruddy passed away in 2017 and now a lovely lady named Sally runs the front desk and collects the admission fee of one dollar to visit this wonderful collection. She’ll tell you all about Mr. Ruddy and how he amassed his fine collection.
Lex, Sar and I felt like we literally stepped back in time and marveled at how pristine the items and relics were preserved. There were so many items that we recognized and so many more that we didn’t. I personally enjoyed seeing the sign for “Baldwin’s Herbal Female Pills” for the change of life. Lex marveled at the tiny jars of cosmetics and loved hearing how a young man wanted to impress his girlfriend by trying a taste of the 80 year old pickles in the barrel. I can imagine how his face puckered up!
Looking over the huge amount of health, packaged food, clothing and medicines, it’s not difficult to believe that this is one the largest displays of unused store merchandise in the country.
If you ever visit Palm Springs, stop by Ruddy’s Museum and say Hello! Sally has a lot of stories to tell.
Location: 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive on The Village Green
Open: September to May (Closed in the Summer) Thursday to Sunday from 10AM to 4PM
Closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday