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Located on 801 South 10th Street, the Durham Train Museum is a monument and piece of history seated in the heart of downtown Omaha, Nebraska. Formerly known as the Durham Western Heritage Museum, this site boasts a rich history in preserving and maintaining the legacy that America has worked overtime to build. The history of the entire western United States can be seen in this one location and is also a central point that houses Omaha’s former Union Station. Visiting this city will leave you learning a lot and knowing some interesting facts that you never thought was even a reality.
For sure, it has gone through a lot over the years, and still now, daily, people do ride it multiple times daily. School, work, or daily activities do see train lovers going for a ride and loving it.
Durham is the Perfect Place for Any Train Lover
The History of the Durham Train Museum
It was during the early 1970s that the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (now Amtrak) came to existence. With this, the Union Pacific Railroad closed the Union Station and set up different plans and actions to move the railway industry forward.
As they decided to go ahead, they had the idea to turn the old building into a museum that would house the state-of-the-art works the industry had created. This suggestion appeared in the Public Pulse of the World-Herald Magazine in April 1971.
With much query and consultation, the building was donated to the city of Omaha in 1973 and then opened to the public two years later. The museum went on for quite a few years until it later closed between 1995 to 1996, where it underwent some major renovations.
Charles and Margre sponsored the repairs at the cost of $22 million, and after the works finished, they ventured to rename it to the Western Heritage Museum.
Their services were appreciated, and after a few years, they further had an idea of a name change, which became the Durham Train Museum on April 6, 2008. The developments the museum as undergone since then include partnerships from significant partners to include the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress.
They gave the museum some much-needed exhibits, which would lead the center to become a rich history that many locals and visitors alike find fascinating to visit.
Durham Train Museum Exhibits
As it stands today, the museum is a beauty that is seated in the city of Omaha and tells a story of memory and, of course, is a unique treasure for the locals. It presents a host of different exhibits which covers a variety of various subject matters, culture and all aspect of the industry and those related directly and indirectly.
Some of their displays are temporary, while others are permanent and available to all visitors. Once you have stepped through the doors of this museum, you will be graced with presentations to include:
The Baright Home & Family Gallery
This gallery spells the Indian tribe and tradition all over it. This exhibit prides itself on a culture that provides a journey back 100 years or more. During the earlier times, there used to be an established area for “Worker’s Cottages,” which were in Omaha for blue-collar families.
They were among the unique dwelling areas at the time and gave a fresh taste to the museum’s visitors. The museum has done a great job in the reproduction of these dwelling locations.
Bekins Moving & Storage
This exhibit brings you back to 1922 as it houses a restored 1922 Mack Flatbed Truck and also tells the rich history of one of Omaha’s most significant companies.
Do you want to take a ride through the Benson neighbor in a 1940 authentic streetcar? Then this exhibit provides the perfect opportunity for this.
Bishop Clarkson Community Gallery
Omaha is keen on community building, and the exhibits of this museum show that rather clearly. This exhibit provides a time travel experience of up to 100 years, which hosts the St. Cecilia’s Cathedral, The Brandies Building, as well as the Bishop Clarkson Hospital. These are just a few of the institutions to be found in this exhibit, with each having its own story and history. Just a little taste of the past to be learned?
Well, one of the Brandies’ brothers died on the Titanic, and St. Cecilia’s Cathedral took 54 years to build. Also, there is a rich history detailing the immigration of residents into Omaha that helped to develop and shape the community into what it is today. Well, think you are up for a challenge like this? There is much more than was even mentioned here – a journey truly awaits you!
Buffett Grocery Store
Experience the taste and aroma of the original Buffett Grocery Store that first opened in 1915 and what they have to offer your tastebuds.
Byron Reed Gallery
The Byron Reed Gallery is by far one of the most fascinating and exciting exhibits on the museum grounds as it boasts a collection of what built Omaha, what sustained it, and what it has to offer its people today. The Byron Reed Gallery got its name from an Omaha real estate agent, Byron Reed, who worked to provide a beautiful collection of books, documents, maps, coins, and other historical items.
However, before dying in 1891, Reed pledged his collections to Omaha, which is on show at the Durham Museum. Some of the special collections include:
A Treasures Cabinet (that contains a specimen of the 1804 Dollar), Medals, Paper Currency, Political Memorabilia, Colonial Coins, Ancient Coinage (Roman Imperial, Byzantine, Ancient Greek, etc.), Territorial Gold, Tokens and other digitized documents.
These exhibits and more among just a few of the many things you will see and expect to experience in the city of Omaha’s Durham Train Museum. It has a ton for the train lover and is a great learning experience with the opportunity to travel back to the past within a matter of hours and in real life. Make it a trip today, and, for sure, you will never regret it.
Seasonal Train Museum Exhibits
You need to go back more than once as things change! I am looking forward to:
Beyond the Vote
March 6, 2021 – January 30, 2022
Over 100 years ago, women got the right to vote. The Durham is pleased to present a unique exhibition experience exploring the lasting impact of the 19th Amendment. Beyond the Vote will blend iconic images of the past from our partners at the Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress with original contemporary artwork created by five local artists. The exhibit will explore the themes at the heart of the suffrage movement—both for and against—and how those same themes about a woman’s place in the world continue to resonate today.
Durham Summer Camp
I LOVE when educational opportunities come about and they are fun! Durham is excited to welcome kids back in 2021 for their summer camp program. From $80 a half-day to $170 a week, they can take kids going into 1st thru 5th grades. You can choose from Summer in the City experiences or specialty themed camps like Camp Construction and Wizard Academy.
With reduced camp sizes, enhanced cleaning and health screenings, and distancing measures in place, our number one goal is to provide a safe, enriching environment for your child.
Durham Train Museum Merit Badge Program
While it looks like they have more for the guys than the gals here, they have several programs that are a one-day event that helps your scouts earn a badge for $8-13 per kid. You can learn more HERE.
Durham Train Museum Admission
Like any museum, membership has privileges and often pays for itself quickly. The single visit rates are:
Seniors (62+): $8.00
Children (ages 3 – 12): $7.00
Children 2 years and under FREE
Compared to a family membership of just $60 a year? Two family visits (2 adults and 2 kids) come out to more than that. In fact, it puts you $12 over the price of the Durham Train Museum family membership price.
It would also make an incredible gift idea – there really is so much to see and do there, one visit simply isn’t enough – not to mention the holiday light display!
*Note: they DO have a discount membership program for families that are struggling – see more HERE
Durham Train Museum Hours
It is important to note that they are closed on Mondays!
Tuesday through Saturday they are open 10-4, but won’t let you in after 2:30 as there isn’t enough time to see and do much.
Sundays they are only open 12 -4
Durham Train Museum Gift Shop
I always love to check out the gift shops of museums – I get some of my best gift ideas there! The Durham Hitchcok Museum has an incredible selection to check out – with an incredible range of prices so there is pretty much something for everyone.
Durham Train Museum Cafe
If you want to step back in time, make sure you visit the Soda Fountain and Candy Shop before you head out. It is Union Station’s original Soda Fountain! I had a chocolate phosphate with a pulled pork sandwich. Yummy!
I was tempted by the ice cream offerings but knew I had a few more stops before I headed back to my hotel that day and didn’t want to be too full.
Durham Train Museum Discount Code:
The Omaha Savings Pack gives visitors more $300 in exclusive discounts to top Omaha attractions. With nothing to download, the Savings Pack will be instantly delivered via text and email and allows for easy mobile redemption.
Other fun things in Omaha to check out: