The mission of the Colorado Railroad Museum is to preserve and convey the rich history of railroading in the Rocky Mountain region through acquisition, research, exhibition, and education.
The Colorado Railroad Museum was formed to highlight Colorado's interesting and colorful history of railroading that is unique in the western United States. Railroads have been highly instrumental, not only in shaping Colorado's history, but also in setting its course through the decades by encouraging Colorado's economy, migration, history and culture to flourish.
Through its collections, artifacts, and exhibits, the Colorado Railroad Museum engages its visitors and creates connections to Colorado's past telling the stories of the people who worked and rode and whose lives were touched by the railroad.
The goals of the Colorado Railroad Museum are to
1. Represent railroading history in a hands-on and three dimensional fashion;
2. Preserve and make accessible important historic artifacts, artwork, and documents; and
3. Offer outstanding educational programs to the community.
In 1949, the Museum's co-founder Robert W. Richardson began acquiring locomotives, cars, artifacts and business records from Colorado's historic narrow gauge railroads, which were being rapidly abandoned. Ten years later in 1959, he and Cornelius W. Hauck opened the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado. In 1966, they established the Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to own and operate the Museum. Governed by a volunteer board of trustees, Richardson continued on as its Executive Director until his retirement in 1992. Since then, the Museum has developed into the largest repository of primary railroad history for Colorado and the adjacent Rocky Mountain area. It now welcomes 100,000 annual visitors. With the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day, the Museum is open daily throughout the year.
In the late 1990s, a $1.7 million fundraising effort resulted in construction of two buildings:
1)a climate-controlled library building to house the collection of books, photographs and corporate records and 2) an authentically designed roundhouse and turntable to restore and maintain the historic equipment. Both facilities are open to the public.
The Colorado - focused collection makes it unique among railroad Museums, with over 100 railcars from the 1880's - 1980's that ran through or within Colorado, including operating steam and diesel locomotives, cabooses, passenger coaches, freight cars, and specialized Maintenance of Way cars.
The Museum offers "living history" train rides every Saturday throughout the year on a 1/3 mile loop of track around the perimeter of the 15 acre grounds. The Museum holds several special "steam up" events in order to continue to introduce the Museum to new audiences, increase return visits and provide an authentic late 19th century railroad experience. Guests can ride behind a steam locomotive in a completely restored 1880's passenger coach with red velvet seats and brass chandeliers. For over a dozen years the Museum has hosted the popular "Thomas the Tank Engine" event to promote interest in railroading to a new generation.
The Colorado Railroad Museum has been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, the American
Association of State and Local History, History Colorado, the Jefferson County Historical Commission, and the Golden Landmarks Association for its work in preserving the railroad history of the Rocky Mountain West. The Museum ranks as one of the top 10 railroad Museums in the United States.
Since 1993, the Colorado Railroad Museum has been ranked among the Top 25 Denver-area
historical and cultural attractions by the Denver Business Journal. Since 2008, the Museum has been named as one of the top 10 paid attractions in the Denver area based on the annual Longwoods Study for Visit Denver.
Since 1961 the museum has published over 60 scholarly books and pamphlets on the railroads of Colorado and the West that are internationally recognized by historians.
The Museum hosts numerous school/youth/developmentally disabled groups throughout the year. In addition, the Museum offers a wide variety of educational programs for all ages.
Volunteers play a critical role in all aspects of the Museum. Nearly 300 volunteers annually donate over 38,000 hours of service to the Museum. Volunteers help restore and maintain our collection of railcars and equipment; provide administrative project support; help with train operations; support the care and use of our extensive collection of library resources; act as Hosts and Tour guides to explain and interpret Colorado railroad history; and assist with grounds maintenance.
Quotes from Trip Advisor:
Second time here and still exciting to visit. Our grandsons were enthralled with the trains and listened intently to the history of the cars. Ran from one to the other and called us to show us everything. Was a good day for them and fun for us also. Would definitely recommend a visit.
The Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado is a non-profit that has done a superb job in preserving the romance of when trains where king. Steam and diesel locomotives vie for attention along with numerous assorted passenger cars. Each has a special story. In particular, the museum places a special emphasis on narrow-gauge acquisitions -an innovative solution in traversing the difficult mountainous Colorado terrain. Be sure to checkout the Denver Leadville & Gunnison No. 191 - the oldest steam locomotive in the museum's collection. Special trains rides are given on "Steam Up Days". This is a real treat for children and the childhood in all of us.
Absolutely amazing...assembled over many decades by loving experts in railroad equipment and history. You name it, it has it.
Train buff or not a fun family adventure. Special events for the tiny tots and hands on history for us all. Getting to move around and in the different trains are informative and fun. Lots to see and all ages will enjoy.
I added the Colorado Railroad Museum to our Denver vacation itinerary because of our six year old son's love of trains. My husband and I were surprised at how much we loved it too. The museum grounds have so many trains from yesteryear that you're inherently transported back in time. And everyone who works there is super friendly and accommodating.
Whether it is trains, western history or just museums, this is the place to vist. Small enough to easily navigate but with a large collection, it is a train lovers must see.
This place is a change for young mothers to take their babies in strollers, Grandparents to point to what once was, and Dads and Kids to crawl all over antique machinery and get pleasantly dirty. Birthday parties in Cabooses are available, and train rides are held each Saturday (not included with Admission) with live steam power once a month. There are numerous events during all seasons, now including the Polar Express (quite elaborate) at Christmas time. Thomas the Tank engine make an appearance in September. The Easter bunny, Halloween and others all make their appearance. Gunfighters and cavalrymen show up during the summer, replete with train robberies on a real train. The display of antique railroad equipment is very hands on, and your kids can get their hands on throttles and ring bells. There is also an elaborate and distinguished HO railroad in the basement of the Depot, plus a world class outdoor railroad put up by the Denver Garden Railway Society, oldest club of its type in the nation.
Railroads built the US and especially the West, and there is no better place to live that history than at the Colorado Railroad Museum. They have hundreds of pieces of railroad history from the 1870's thru cars and engines just a few years removed form active service. Their collection of narrow gauge equipment that built the state of Colorado is especially complete, and they run it behind authentic steam locomotives several times a year.
This statement was entered into the Congressional Record.
COLORADO RAILROAD MUSEUM
HON. ED PERLMUTTER OF COLORADO
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate and applaud the Colorado Railroad Museum for receiving the Living
Landmark Award. The Living Landmark Award is presented by
the Golden Landmarks Association, a nonprofit organization which works to preserve historic places and educate people about the
wonderful history the Golden area has to offer.
The Colorado Railroad Museum has provided an interesting and colorful history of railroading unique to the Western United States.
Railroads have been instrumental in Colorado's history by encouraging the economy, migration, and culture to flourish. In 1959, Robert W. Richardson and Cornelius W. Hauck opened the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden.
The museum houses the largest repository for Colorado's railroad history and nearly 100,000 people visit the museum every year.
In the late 90's the museum added a climatecontrolled library to house books, photographs, and corporate records and added an
authentic roundhouse and turntable to restore and maintain the historic equipment. To instill in today's youth a love for trains and railroads, The Colorado Railroad Museum offers train rides every weekend and hosts the Thomas the Tank Engine event every year.
The Colorado Railroad Museum is ranked among the top 25 Denver area historical and cultural attractions and has been recognized
by the Smithsonian Institute, American Association of State and Local History, and Colorado Historical Society for its work preserving
railroad history in the Rocky Mountains.
I am honored to congratulate the Colorado Railroad Museum; I know they will work to provide an understanding and passion of railroads for future generations.