Skip navigation

March 2, 2012

Union Pacific Railroad Museum to Open New Exhibit in May

March 2, 2012

First Museum Exhibit to Use Kinect Full-body Gaming Technology

The entire first floor of The Union Pacific Railroad Museum will be transformed in the coming months into the state-of-the-art, million-dollar exhibit "Building America" The exhibit's grand opening will be May 12, 2012. 

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,"

The museum will be closing the first floor of exhibits March 5 to begin construction.  The second floor of exhibits, "America Travels by Rail" and "Working the Railroad" will remain open through April 7.  The entire museum will be closed from April 8 to May 11, reopening May 12 with the unveiling of the "Building America" exhibit.

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;

To learn more about the installation process and for sneak peeks of the new exhibit, "Like" the Museum on Facebook, or follow on Twitter , @uprrmuseum. 

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


Recent Entries
  • Honoring Key African American Contributions During Black History MonthJan. 26 – We are partnering with UP's Black Employee Network (BEN) to celebrate Black History Month on Saturday, February 7, from 1 to 3 p.m. During the event, BEN members will host "Innovation Stations" throughout the museum, and each visitor will be encouraged to stop at the stations to listen to the stories of great people like Granville T. Woods, who held the patent for the Induction Telegraph System, Golden William Smith, a porter on the City of Los Angeles streamliner and Edwina Justus, the first black female train engineer. This event is free and open to the public.
  • The Holiday Model Trains are Back!

    We will have a temporary model train exhibit available for viewing from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, from Dec. 18 through Jan. 3. If you stop in and mention to the front desk that you saw this on our website, we'll give you one free historic Union Pacific holiday postcard while supplies last.

  • Museum Holiday HoursWe hope you and yours have the happiest of holidays.
    We will be closed on:
    • Thanksgiving Day
    • Friday, November 28
    • Christmas Eve
    • Christmas Day
    • New Year's Day
    Stay safe everyone!
  • Guest Speaker: Walter Echo-HawkAs part of Union Pacific's celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we are partnering with Union Pacific's Council of Native American Heritage (CONAH) employee resource group to offer a free public presentation by Walter Echo-Hawk.
  • Welcome Bruce, Alison and BethIf you recently visited the museum, you may have noticed some new faces. Our dedicated team is growing, and we are very excited about it.
  • Union Pacific Railroad Museum Awarded 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of ExcellenceThank you to all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor.
  • Union Pacific Railroad Museum Celebrates Black History Month

    Union Pacific Railroad Museum is partnering with Union Pacific's Black Employee Network (BEN) to celebrate Black History Month on Saturday, February 8, from 1 to 3 p.m.

  • Union Pacific Railroad Museum Celebrates Native American Heritage Month with Community Event

    Union Pacific Railroad Museum and Union Pacific Railroad's Council of Native American Heritage (CONAH) will celebrate Native American Heritage Month by offering a free event, highlighting unique Native objects in the museum's collections. The presentation, which will be led by author and Professor Taylor Keen, will be held Saturday, Nov. 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the museum, 200 Pearl St. in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

  • From the Museum StoreWhile there is always a new stream of items available in the Union Pacific Railroad Museum Gift Shop, it is once again time for two annual favorites. 
  • Happy 4th of July!The Union Pacific Railroad Museum will be closed for the 4th of July, we wish you all a happy and safe holiday!  We will be open at our regular time on Friday July 5.
  • Archives
© Copyright 2011 Friends of Union Pacific Railroad Museum.