Forney Museum of Transportation

The Forney Museum of Transportation's collection is unique among North American museums in the breadth of artifacts representing over 160 years of transportation history & associated technologies. After 63 years, it continues to be an educational treasure trove deserving of strong community support.

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General Information

General
Official Name
Forney Museum of Transportation​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
N/A
Former Name(s)
(1971)The Forney Historical Museum
(1979)Colorado-Forney Transportation Museum
(2015)Forney Museum
Acronym
-
Date Established
1961
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
None
Tax ID
84-6037763
Addresses
Headquarters Address
4303 Brighton Blvd.
Denver, CO 80216
Colorado Location
4303 Brighton Blvd.
Denver, CO 80216
Mailing Address
4303 Brighton Blvd.
Bldg. One
Denver, CO 80216
Other Address
N/A
Phone/Fax
Main Phone Number
303-297-1113
Fax Number
303-297-3113
Other Phone Number
N/A
Web/Email
Email
financialservices@forneymuseum.org
Website
www.forneymuseum.org
Social Media Links
       

Mission Statement

The Forney Museum of Transportation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which exists to collect, preserve, and exhibit items of artistic, historical, and technological interest relating to transportation for the purposes of education and personal enrichment.

Organization History

The Forney Museum of Transportation began with the gift from family, in 1955, of a single automobile, a 1921 Kissel, and grew as the private collection of Mr. J. D. Forney of Fort Collins, CO. From an early age, and with a highly inventive mind, Mr. Forney had an interest in all modes of transportation. In the late 1950s, the then modest collection was housed in his garage and the attached building J.D. had used to begin his welding equipment business in the 1940s. When the collection, later housed at the ever-expanding Forney Industries complex, numbered almost 200 vehicles by the mid-1960s, Mr. Forney began to seek a new location to house & display it. Initially it was relocated to the then brand new and innovative Cinderella City Shopping Mall just south of Denver in the community of Littleton. When that location failed to meet J.D.'s expectations, he once again began seeking an even more favorable location. Partnering with the avid local automobile and rail collector, Dr. James Arneill, the collections were moved in 1968 to the former Denver Tramway Powerhouse building situated along the Platte River and christened the Colorado Transportation Museum.
Shortly after the relocation Dr. Arneill was able to secure the very significant donation from Union Pacific of one of their 8 remaining ALCO built 4884 'Big Boy' steam locomotives, the largest of their kind ever built. During the 1970s, Dr. Arneill & J.D. parted, with J.D. acquiring the entire collection, and by the 1980s the Museum was renamed Forney Museum.
The Museum remained in the Tramway Building for 30 years as a well known landmark along Denver's "Valley Highway", now known as I-25. As donated vehicles and related artifacts continued to grow the collection, the decision was made to relocate in 1999 to a larger, more modern facility; the present location in the Elyria-Swansea-Globeville neighborhood. Now adjacent to the landmarked Denver Coliseum and historic National Western Stockyards Complex, the Forney Museum re-opened in a re-purposed 146,000 square foot facility situated on 3 acres along Denver's main thoroughfare into Downtown, Brighton Boulevard. The current location was a fortuitous choice as the Museum, now numbering in excess of 900 artifacts, is now part of the newer and ever-growing River North (RiNo) Arts District.
Along with his wife Rae, children & grandchildren, J.D. spent untold hours with the Museum over the course of over 30 years. After J.D. & Rae's passings, their son, Jack, continued to operate the Museum for nearly 30 years and undertook the monumental task of relocating the nearly 600 artifacts to the present location. Despite no longer being under direct family control, the Forney Family's dedication to the preservation of transportation history continues with ongoing involvement by the 3rd, 4th and even 5th generation. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for well over a half a decade, this significant historical treasure now relies on not only our visitors, but also that of community support and the generosity of a broad spectrum of donors to be kept viable as a unique educational institution, so valuable to Denver and Colorado's cultural landscape.

Testimonials

Interesting for all ages! Great displays of a wide history range. The Big Boy steam engine, classic cars, motorcycles, toys are all here. The kids aged 6 and 9 enjoyed seeing the older full sized vehicles as well as the replicas and toy trains.
Wade R, Pattison, TX, Oct. 2018

This is fabulous! This is certainly one, if not the best, transportation museums anywhere in the world. From the amazing collection of both Matchbox and Dinky toys to the Big Boy (locomotive) and the tremendous collection of vehicles. This place is a must. Super job guys!
C.R., St. Petersburg, FL, Oct. 2018

This museum has wheels! So much more than we expected! Among the highlights: Amelia Earhart's car! Enormous locomotives, rooms full of motorcycles and bicycles dating back to 1800's. The collection was astounding for its breadth and quirky diversity, from bumper cars to an early helicopter with stage coaches in between. (Note the Burma Shaves signs overhead.) We can't speak highly enough about this must-see museum.
Bridget A., Winooski, VT, Aug. 2018

Amazing Collection! This is a vast, indoor collection of vehicles. Cars, trains, motorcycles, and bicycles are all represented. The museum is well organized. The information on each piece was interesting and accurate. Give yourself a bit of time to digest all the contents. I took well over two hours on my visit, and I could easily go back again.
Kip B., St. Louis, MO, Aug. 2018

100+ years of history viewed through the lens of vehicles. I think of the Forney Museum as a boutique museum. ...the one thing it does-showcasing cars, trains, and other modes of transportation-is done exceptionally well. As you look at the (exhibits) you get a sense for different historical eras, and how transportation changed... My favorites were some historical gems I had never even heard of, like the "bubble car" built by Messerschmidt after WWII when they were not permitted to keep making aircraft or the actual wood sided mini station wagon or the Amphicar, which also doubled as a boat. ...friendly staff, and a collection that is extensive, but manageable to take a quick tour through in an afternoon. Highly recommended!
Brian J., Ft. Collins, CO, July 2018

Cars and trains and aeroplanes! We spent 2 hours in the 3 large rooms and would have spent more... This museum showcases every type of transportation vehicle in the history of the US-from horse & carriage, sleighs, cars of every vintage, streetcars, motorcycles, postal & military vehicles to restored steam locomotives & train passenger cars. Wax mannequins from the old Denver Wax Museum, dressed in period clothes complete the historic tableaux. Honestly, I have little personal interest in cars, although I love trains, but I found the museum fascinating and thorough in its research without a trace of dryness. The exhibits were so beautifully restored that the history of transportation came alive.
Laura M., McLean, VA, July 2018

Came for the Big Boy, wowed by the rest! The cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, and aircraft were a bonus for me. Saw some cars I've never heard of, and some very rare ones. Nicely maintained and displayed. Good explanatory signs. Excellent!
Doug, Silverton, OR, June 2018

If you are in Denver the Forney Museum is a MUST STOP!! We walked out of there mesmerized and stunned; it was GREAT!! and my wife doesn't like museums, NOW SHE WANTS TO GO BACK TOO!!
Mike K., Columbus, U.S., June 2018

This was our second visit in under a year. It is great to see the "staples" still there with a constant rotation of new exhibits. This is an Non-Profit Organization so every visitor helps keep this great place alive. We visit from MT each year and my 8 yr. old absolutely loves the Big Boy. The facility is always spotless and the staff very friendly. Can't recommend this museum enough.
Anonymous, Montana, June 2018

Fantastic collection! This place is so cool! The collection...is outstanding, and I loved reading about each one. This place is well worth it!
Steph, Sacramento, CA, Jan. 2018

Spectacular collection! My husband and I have visited this museum twice. With an extensive collection of cars, trains, motorcycles, and bicycles along with a multitude of other modes of transportation this museum has something for everyone....
Nancy M., Austin, TX, Jan. 2018

Extensive collection. This was a great stop! I wanted to go to see the Big-Boy Locomotive, which I did, but the museum was more than I expected. A GREAT collection of transportation items!
Stephen C., Rockport, ME, Oct. 2017

Amazing collection of transport related items! Obviously a labor of love, this place is a jaw-dropping collection of items transport related. Not just from the extent of items, but also that a lot of items are restored by volunteers and the mint condition of unrestored items.
Otto, Singapore, Sept. 2017

Worth a Visit!
All kinds of cars and trucks and trains and motorcycles! Even if you are not interested in 'transportation', you will find this a delightful and informative place to visit.
Doug S., Torrance, CA, Sept. 2017

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