Preserve. Educate. Inspire.

All aboard for the future!

Addressing Emerging Needs For The Future

The National Railroad Museum® has experienced sustained growth. With more than 85,000 visitors in 2015, we continue to strategically expand our offerings to meet the needs of a changing and diverse community. The Museum currently cannot accommodate multiple programs at once and much of the existing exhibit space is virtually inaccessible during the winter months. The Museum is also currently unable to store and display Museum objects and rolling stock using the best practices developed by the American Alliance of Museums.

Between 2010 and 2015, general Museum attendance, education program participation, community-hosted event attendance, and items in the collection all increased. Unfortunately, during the same period, the Museum’s facilities did not grow to accommodate the increased activity.

  • Educational Program Growth . . .89%
  • Community Event Growth . . . . . 43%
  • Total Attendance Growth . . . . 31%
  • Museum Collection Growth . . . 18%
  • Facilities Growth……………………..0%

Due to growth and emerging needs, the Museum will need

  • To meet the rapidly growing visitor numbers.
  • To expand educational programming to meet current and future demands.
  • To provide a state-of-the-art facility for the indoor, year-round preservation, display, and expansion of the collection.
  • To provide engaging technology-interactive spaces for both educational programming and community gatherings.

Project Vision and Highlights

The completed project will address many of the museum’s emerging needs. The expanded, iconic round house-type facility will:

  • Create a sense of wonder, engagement, and immediate recognition.
  • Support year-round accessibility, exhibits, and programming opportunities.
  • Offer a larger rolling stock gallery that will house approximately 70 percent of the Museum’s collection that was once displayed in the 44-year-old open air McCormick Pavilion and an exciting center track turntable.
  • Provide expanded exhibit, educational, and gathering spaces that will support students of all ages. Students will be able to explore, learn, and the community will have a space to gather and celebrate together.
  • Expand the reach of our educational mission by increasing the number of individuals and groups we serve through programs as well as volunteer opportunities and internships.

Our mission is to inspire lifelong learning by providing dynamic educational opportunities through the preservation of railroad objects, engaging exhibits and innovative programs.

A unique collection of over 100,000 items—including 70 pieces of rolling stock, railroad photographs, manuscripts, and smaller railroad objects—is maintained at the Museum. Campus The Museum is home of the renowned Dwight D. Eisenhower locomotive and Union Pacific Railroad Big Boy, as well as the Pullman Porters: From Service to Civil Rights exhibit.

The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin dates back to 1956, when community leaders advanced the concept of a national museum dedicated to American railroad history. In 1958, a joint resolution of Congress recognized the Museum as the National Railroad Museum. Since then, the Museum has operated as a privately funded 501(c)(3) educational institution.

What began as an effort to acquire a single steam locomotive for a city park has grown into one of the largest, and the ONLY nationally-designated railroad museum in the United States. It is also one of the only nationally-designated museums of any kind in the Midwest! Over 85,000 visitors enjoy the Museum each year. Be a part of helping us grow!

The National Railroad Museum's Impact

The Museum has a significant positive impact on individuals, families, education, the economy, and the sense of community in the region, as well as reaches out nationally and internationally among its 85,000 visitors. The Museum is one of the top three tourist destinations in the area and the expansion will only enhance its presence.

Educational impact:

Educational program participation has increased by 89% within the last 6 years, we provide outreach education to school groups, scouting organizations, youth groups, after school programs, child care centers, retirement groups, tour groups, railroad enthusiast groups, colleges and universities.

Economic Impact of Museum Visitors:

Current Impact

  • 85,000 visitors in 2015
  • ~70% from outside of Brown County (59,500)
  • Each visitor spends ~$114 *
  • $6,783,000 contributed to the local economy by NRM visitors
  • * Figure from GB Visitors & Convention Bureau

Future Impact (post-project)

  • 125,000 visitors
  • ~70% from outside of Brown County (87,500)
  • Each visitor spends ~$120 (estimate in 2018)
  • $10,500,000 (55% increase in contribution to local economy)