Trains are a big part of the history of our city, which is probably why our largest museum is located in a train station. The Durham Museum in Union Station is at the center of the transcontinental railroad. Just like the station once connected several parts of the nation, the museum has connections to different hubs of historic information. It’s affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress and the Nation archive, and the Field Museum. That means, the Durham Museum is packed full of knowledge and will make for an enriching and educational family trip. Read on to learn more about the Museum.
History of The Durham Museum
The Durham Museum is located in the historic Union Station. So you might consider the museum itself to be a historical exhibit. When it was originally built it was a center for commercial transportation. So, it offered several amenities consistent with the needs of travelers. Railway passengers could stop by the barbershop, grab a refreshing drink at the soda fountain, and pick up a gift before hailing a cab at the taxi stand. However, a few decades after Union Station was built, consumers began using air travel more. Consequently, Union Station was shuttered in 1971, but not for long. In 1975, it reopened as The Western Heritage Museum. 20 years later, Chuck and Marge Durham renovated the building and it is now known as The Durham Museum.
Collections You Should See
When you plan your visit to The Durham Museum, there are a few permanent collections that you should see. One is the photo archive which has over one million photos. It’s a visual account of Omaha from its days as a frontier town to the present. The collection of historic objects is another interesting exhibit to visit. You and your family will see objects that were commonplace during different periods of the city. When you explore the archival materials, you’ll find rare books, documents, and letters that tell the story of Omaha’s past. Finally, the Byron Reed Collection tracks the history of commerce in the area through coins and banknotes that are no longer in use.
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While you’re at the museum, don’t forget to check out a few of the visiting exhibits. On display now is Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition. The global exhibition is an immersive, interactive experience that covers the life of one of the most iconic freedom fighters. Theatre Row: Stage and Screen in Early 20th Century Omaha is another great exhibit to see. It tells the story of the growth of the theatre industry in Omaha.
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