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Building America

The entire first floor of The Union Pacific Railroad Museum has been transformed into the state-of-the-art, million-dollar exhibit "Building America."

Since opening in the Carnegie Library in Council Bluffs in 2003, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum’s first floor has been dedicated to sharing the experience of building the Transcontinental Railroad. The new exhibit takes the telling of this story to an entirely new level. With a new immersive design and cutting-edge technology, visitors will be transported to the 1860s as they learn about frontier life, the monumental work needed for constructing the railroad and the communities that were created along its route.

"Using video gaming technology never before seen in a museum application, the "Building America" exhibit will allow us to put visitors to work at the scene of the transcontinental railroad construction," said Patricia LaBounty, outreach and collections manager, Union Pacific Railroad Museum. "From entering a tunnel at Donner Summit to trying their hand at driving a spike, visitors will see this 19th Century feat of technology and engineering come to life as never before,"

Key components of the "Building America" exhibit will include:

  • The first museum use of Kinect full-body gaming technology to create a truly immersive experience for visitors.
  • More than 200 artifacts, some dating back to the 1860s.
  • 55 pieces from the museum’s firearm collection;
  • 60 railroad lanterns;
  • 64 stereographic images from the building of the transcontinental railroad;

Union Pacific Railroad provided funding for this renovation, with assistance from the Iowa West Foundation and The Friends of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.

150 years of history...
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© Copyright 2011 Friends of Union Pacific Railroad Museum.