Thirty Years of Progress - Museum Timeline
1963: The State Legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania establishes the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania to “preserve significant artifacts, appropriate to the history of railroading in the State and to present through exhibits the highlights of that history.”
1965: A site for the Railroad Museum is selected in Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
1969: The core of the Railroad Museum’s collection—23 Pennsylvania Railroad locomotives and cars, assembled by the PRR for its 1939/1940 New York World’s Fair exhibit—is moved from Northumberland to the Railroad Museum in Strasburg.
1970: Construction begins on the Railroad Museum’s restoration yard and turntable.
1972: Construction begins on the Railroad Museum’s main exhibit facility.
1974: Construction is completed on the Railroad Museum’s main exhibit building.
1975: The Railroad Museum is opened to the public.
1978: The Railroad Museum’s collection is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1983: The Friends of the Railroad Museum (FRM) organization is chartered to provide support for the Museum. The Museum embarks on a comprehensive conservation program and develops exhibits to educate the public.
1988: Steinman Station, a replica turn-of-the-20th-century passenger depot, is built. Steinman Station is a gift to the Railroad Museum from the Steinman Foundation.
1995: The Railroad Museum’s main exhibit area doubles in size with the completion of a Rolling Stock Hall addition.
1997: Museum starts this web site, which continues to grow.
1999: The Railroad Museum’s Restoration Shop facility houses woodworking, metalworking and painting shops and is utilized for restoration and stabilization work on the Museum’s vehicular artifacts.
2000: The Railroad Museum’s Stewart Junction railway education center exhibit accommodates the Museum’s interactive learning and innovative education programs. Stewart Junction is a gift to the Railroad Museum from the North American Railway Foundation and other public and private contributors.
2005: The Railroad Museum’s 1915 Golden Age of Railroading Street Scene exhibit, built by students from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center, is completed. The Street Scene also is funded by public and private contributors.
2005: Phase I of construction begins on the renovation of the Railroad Museum’s front entrance, lobby and Museum store.
2007: Construction completed and new facilities in operation. Museum adopts comprehensive Strategic Plan.
2008: Long range physical facilities plan undertaken.
Today, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s world-class collection features more than 100 historically significant locomotives and railroad cars—made or operated in Pennsylvania—and well in excess of 250,000 railroad-related artifacts including photographs, tools, uniforms, art, tickets, telegraph equipment and many other objects from Pennsylvania’s railroad industry.
The Museum has hosted many hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic visitors, and now over 400,000 visitors to this web site each year!
And these thirty years are just the beginning! From a modest beginning with a collection of historic old railroad equipment badly in need of restoration, the Museum has established a recognized position in the railway history field, with professional leadership, enthusiastic volunteer support and a growing array of exhibits, visitor opportunities, and educational presentations.