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The Friends are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, a world class museum of railroad history in Strasburg, PA.

2010 Funding Breakthroughs

See 2011 Continuing Progress Here

  Turntable & roundhouse, Cressona.
Seen at its original location in Cressona, PA, our 1928 Reading turntable is slated to have a new roundhouse here in Strasburg. (Larger view.)
Major Progress Underway!

The Museum has recently been granted over five million dollars in new funding, with more funds to come.

These resources complement previous grants from such respected sources as the North American Railway Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Steinman Foundation, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

See our announcements below by selecting the appropriate tab!

 

Roundhouse Design Commences!

Aerial view.$500,000 has been released for the design of a 16,000 square foot roundhouse in the Outdoor Storage Yard to be located at the museum's existing turntable which is the focal point of our restoration yard. (See it at its original location.)

In September 2010, the architectural firm of Erdy McHenry, Philadelphia, was engaged by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services to design the roundhouse. Erdy McHenry has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects for excellence in design. The firm focuses on a self-described creative, solutions-based approach to design where understanding the building site and its historical relationship to the program is essential. Clients have included Temple University, One Penn Square West, the Southern Poverty law Center, Saint Aloysius Church and Comcast. 

The roundhouse will be able to house a significant number of the museum’s extensive collection of historic locomotives and rolling stock currently stored outdoors. Many of the locomotives that will be preserved in the new building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are among the only surviving examples of their kind. 

Turntable.This roundhouse which will provide permanent, climate-controlled storage for the museum's historic collection of PRR steam and electric motive power, among other items. The Governor's Office anticipates releasing an additional $6.1 million in construction funds for the roundhouse later in the current fiscal year.

“This project represents a major step forward for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania,” Museum Director Charles Fox points out, “allowing us to raise the standards of our already world-class institution even higher.  Once the roundhouse is in place, and in conjunction with the completion of a new geothermal HVAC system in the Museum and updated exhibits, the entire interpretive experience we offer to visitors will have been reshaped and improved, and we will have become much more effective caretakers of this unequalled collection of American railroading artifacts.”

Major New Exhibits!

  Workers exhibit.
  Reefer car exhibit.

$4.5 million has also been released for the planning, design, fabrication and installation of new permanent exhibits throughout the museum including Rolling Stock Hall.

The Hilferty Museum Exhibit & Design firm of Athens, Ohio has been selected to design the new exhibits.    Hilferty has brought more than 100 museums, interpretive and visitor centers to life since the firm’s inception in 1971, and in fields as varied as technology, science, natural history, sports, children’s interactive, cultural history and Native American heritage.

Our current exhibits have served us well but tell an incomplete story - the new exhibits will allow us to examine Pennsylvania's railroading history from its earliest beginnings to the present day in a thorough and comprehensive manner, examining the social, economic, and technological history of Pennsylvania railroading using the museum's outstanding collection of artifacts and rolling stock to illustrate the story.

PRR No. 460 - The Lindbergh Engine

Check.On March 1, 2010, the Museum achieved the goal of raising $50,000 toward the restoration of Pennsylvania Railroad E6s Atlantic No. 460, the last locomotive of her kind in existence, thereby qualifying for the challenge grant from the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical Historical Society of $50,000.

Check presentation.

Museum Director Charles Fox accepts check from Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society President Al Buchan with Keystone Magazine editor Chuck Blardone assisting.

 

PRRTHS.“We are very fortunate and grateful to have a group like the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society come forward, recognize the importance of preserving an artifact of this caliber and commit much-needed funds to the project in this special, limited term campaign,”   says Museum director Charles Fox.  No. 460 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is one of the artifacts from the famed Pennsylvania Railroad Historical Collection.

No. 460.Although the non-profit Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania organization had already raised nearly $50,000 before the PRRT&HS challenge campaign, the restoration of this engine is estimated to cost around $385,000.   That means that, even with the additional $100,000 from this matching campaign, $235,000 will still be needed to complete the project.  Fox notes that, in general, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s restoration projects are becoming vastly larger in scope and ever more complex and expensive as time passes. Additional skilled volunteer labor and contributions are sought.

Read about this locomotive and the fund drive

Golden Age of Railroading Street Scene

Street scene.A small Pennsylvania town, circa 1915, arose from a concrete platform at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.  Now, the early 20th century town will come to life, thanks to a $59, 980 grant recently awarded to the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania by the Norfolk Southern Foundation.

 

Norfolk Southern.

The Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation's premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the east and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.

The Norfolk Southern Foundation has previously assisted the Museum in other projects such as a digital virtual tour system.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania director Charles Fox says that the enhancement of exhibits in the 1915 Golden Age of Railroading Street Scene will provide an educational and entertaining experience for Museum visitors.  “We will now fill the entire street scene with life and activity, and are truly grateful that the Norfolk Southern Foundation is helping the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania accomplish this.”

The 1915 Golden Age of Railroading Street Scene consists of three building façades along Platform 1 West in the Museum between Steinman Station passenger depot and Stewart Junction freight depot/railway education center.  The street scene buildings were previously constructed, in large part, by students from the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, with assistance from Lancaster County Career & Technology Center students, and the invaluable support of other partners in the community. 

Street scene sketch.

The Railroad Museum’s Pennsylvania Special passenger train, on Track 1 in front of the street scene, creates the authentic look and feel of a train arriving in a small town, with the daily hustle and bustle of the arrival and departure of family, friends, mail and news during railroading’s golden age.  Fox reports that the new exhibit enhancements in the street scene will include the creation of a railroader’s home, a photographer’s studio, a railroad union office, a railroad hotel and a general store.

“The railroader’s home will be furnished in a manner typical of the early 20th century,” Fox explains.  “The photography studio will show how not only the townspeople were depicted for posterity but also how railroad operations were chronicled.  The union office will illustrate how the unions engaged in collective bargaining and established important benefits for railroad employees and their families.”

“The railroad hotel was a place where local residents, railroaders and travelers could enjoy a meal, engage in conversation and find a night’s lodging.  As we know, some railroads owned and operated their own hotels.  The street scene general store will represent the one-stop retail establishment where an array of goods and services could always be found,” Fox adds.

In addition to the building façades, a brick sidewalk and period lighting are already in place in the street scene.  Landscaping, vehicles and other materials will be added to the exterior to help set the stage for the Railroad Museum’s interpretive programs, tours, static exhibits and living history activities.  Each street scene building will be climate controlled for the exhibition of historic items on the first floor and collections storage on the second floor.  Fox notes that the street scene offers a unique venue for the important interpretation and teaching of history, particularly in the early 20th century, and promises to be a popular area in the Museum for education programs, special events, school and group tours and facility rentals. 

The street scene project, which will begin sometime later this spring, will be managed and installed by Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania staff from various departments.  It is anticipated that it will be completed by early summer of 2011.

 

 
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