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Colorado Railroad Museum

Here at the Colorado Railroad Museum, we are preserving the Centennial State's railroading heritage for tomorrow--by sharing it with audiences today, in ways that engage and inspire. Thanks to your generous support, we've been doing this important work for over 60 years!

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Operating Days and Signature Events

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Families
General Public

Description

The Museum is open daily throughout the year with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day and associated Federal holidays.
Each Saturday, guests can step back in time and ride a train or Galloping Goose around a 1/3-mile track that circles the Museum property. Train rides provide opportunities for visitors to experience living history and learn about the important role railroads have played in the development of Colorado.

Each year, the Museum hosts "Day Out with Thomas", an event especially for children based on the popular television and children's book character, Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas is on site and provides rides for children and adults over three weekends. The 15th annual event drew over 20,000 people over three weekends in September 2016.

The Museum has added "The Polar Express Train Ride" in November and December as a new holiday tradition for the Denver Metro area. Polar Express is a theatrical performance that recreates the heartwarming Warner Bros. movie, complete with the hot chocolate song, the trip to the North Pole, and Santa giving every child the "first gift of Christmas". Last year's production sold out, and was experienced by over 10,000 people.

Other special signature events include the "Bunny Express", the "Steampunk at the Station", and the "Trick or Treat Train", among others.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Overall attendance continues to increase, and the Museum is anticipating over 90,000 visitors in 2018. The Museum has ranked as one of the top 10 paid attractions by the annual Longwoods Study of tourism. The Denver Business Journal has ranked the Museum as one of the top 25 cultural attractions in the Denver Metro Area for the past seven years.

Exhibits/Curatorial/Library/Publications

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public

Description

The Museum has been the recipient of several significant collections of railroad materials, artifacts and photos over the years.
In May 2011, the Museum acquired the Union Pacific Diner No. 5401. The diner car was built by ACF in 1948 for D&RGW originally as part of the Rio Grande Zephyr. The diner was acquired by the UP in 1979. It is completely intact with seating for 48 and has been sitting at the UP Burnham yard in Denver for the past 25 years. It is configured as a diner with original Formica top tables, 1950's vintage seating and a complete galley. The railcar will be an important addition to the collection as it is a prototypical example of a key element of railroad travel that is absent from the current collection.

Rotating exhibits have included the history of Locomotive 346 as part of the completion of the six-year restoration process and return to service of the Museum's signature locomotive, the D&RGW No. 491; "Eating on the Rails"; an exhibit that celebrates a number of ways various people traveling by rail might have their meals on a long trip by rail - from picnic baskets to fine china in the dining car. Part of the Museum's collection of railroad china is on display, along with sliver service, menus and other ephemera.

One of the largest collections of primary railroad material in the country, the Museum library continues to provide important research and library services to worldwide clientele. The Museum is known internationally for its publications, especially its "Annuals". Thirty Annuals have been published on various aspects of railroad history.

The Museum began the process of cataloging the artifact collection in 2011 and has cataloged nearly 10,000 objects since that time.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Museum staff and volunteers have cataloged nearly 10,000 objects in since 2011. The library has provided access to more archival material that has been processed and cataloged over the past year. Our Curator of Collections has installed compact shelving in the library building, which increases our storage capacity by 40%.

Restoration & Maintenance

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public

Description

Museum volunteers and staff work countless hours to stabilize, maintain and restore the extensive collection of over 100 historic train engines and cars for the enjoyment and education of visitors.
In addition, because the railcars are in an outdoor environment, they are exposed to the vagaries of Colorado weather. Maintenance of rail equipment is a constant and ongoing process by necessity. Museum volunteers will spend many hours in 2017 scraping, repainting, and restoring several of the 19th and early 20th Century wooden railcars.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Restoration

On the Uintah 50 combine we made great progress towards the completion of its restoration. We fabricated new passenger car trucks and bolsters. We designed, built and installed new draft gear and couplers. The car was painted and lettered. We had a local woodworking company build beautiful replicas of the 1880s first class Pullman seats out of mahogany. Brake rigging and plumbing was installed. Our volunteers also rewired all the electric lights in the car.

On the business car B-8 we refinished the walls and replaced bad wood in the bedroom in preparation for use on the Polar express.

On our locomotive 346 we completed her annual inspection as well as her triannual state recertification. I can go into more detail if needed. IE what it takes to do the annual if you want.

We received a donation from BNSF of an antique Union Switch and Signal company Semaphore. The signal was sent to their signal shop and fully restored. These signals date back to the 1920s and very few still exist outside museums. After we received the signal we installed it near our loop of track and we will make it functional for display purposes and for use when we run trains.


Locomotive No. 491(1902)-restoration to operation. Received State Historical Fund grant to remove and replace old boiler insulation/boiler jacket.Complete. Due to the success of this grant application and restoration, CRRM's Curator of Rolling Stock has been invited to review upcoming grants in 2016 and 2017.

UP Diner (1949) and Passenger Coach (1949) Installing electrical service, sewer and water to provide authentic interpreted dining events.

Outreach and Continuing Educational Programs

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public

Description

The Colorado Railroad Museum is committed to creating learning opportunities for visitors of all ages through engaging programs and activities that will facilitate an appreciation for and interest in Colorado railroads past and present. Museum Hosts lead educational tours for visiting schools, adult groups and daycare groups. The Museum offers a standards-based outreach presentation on early Colorado railroading with a certified K-6 teacher. Adult learners are now able to attend the new adult lecture series on Colorado's unique railroad history. Exhibits are in the process of being updated with activities, information and interpretation to engage and inspire a wide range of learners. Programs in 2017 include a standards-based onsite class for elementary students, with hands-on activities, an "Artifact Trunk" containing education materials such as artifacts, games and activities, will be available for teachers to borrow and bring into their classroom. The website will be updated with a resource page for students, teachers and the general public, to provide a wide range of information on Colorado's railroads. Finally, a Junior Engineer Club is planned for the coming year to give children who are interested in trains and railroading the opportunity to participate in educational and entertaining activities at the museum.
Adult Enrichment programs include "Colorado Rails & Cocktails" - A popular adult lecture program held on select Friday evenings and Special Lectures/Presentations (A Public Program for Adults) - Lectures or presentations for adults that are free with admission and during regular Museum hours

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Since 2015, the Education Curator has staff hasbeen focusing on creating specific field trip experiences addressing Colorado State Curriculum standards while providing students with a strong foundation in railroad and western history. Interpretive themes of technology, economy, immigration, and social customs were chosen to reflect our community and used to create an interpretive manual providing tour guides with a better understanding of child developmental needs and providing training for them on interpretive techniques. Staff also worked with area educators to develop five specifically standard based programs to insure that the museum was meeting the needs of students from pre-K to 12th grade. In 2017, the number of students who were able to visit the Museum as part of a school sponsored doubled.

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