Explore Railroad

Located in historic downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the Missouri River, we're a great place for friends and family to come and learn about the Union Pacific Railroad.


Museum Information

General Admission is free 

Currently Closed Due to COVID-19 

All donations support the Union Pacific Museum Association, a 501(c)3 registered nonprofit.

Visitor Reviews

"Great place to go on a winter's day. Very educational!"

"Keep up the good work. It was fun learning about trains. It's an amazing museum!"

"This museum has fantastic displays! Love the demonstration of what made America great: hard working American spirit!"

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  • Small | Virtual school program transcon photo

    Register for FREE Virtual School Program: Legacy of the Transcontinental Railroad

    Available for grades 3-6, 7-9, and 10-12.

    Start your history investigation! What does the transcontinental railroad mean in American history? Analyze the clues, consider different perspectives, and draw your own conclusion.


    Register here

  • Virtual Adult Programs

    Join us on Zoom for a variety of historical presentations. These programs are totally free, you just need to register.


    October 31, 5:30pm (central): Spooky Railroad Halloween Trivia - Steam into Saturday Virtual Happy Hour
    Join us for a spooky night of our scariest railroad trivia! All knowledge levels welcome. Costumes highly encouraged. Register Here


    November 6, 11:30am (central): Book Talk with Professor and Author Kent Blansett

    Drawing from his recent book A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement, Professor Blansett will discuss Richard Oakes’s critical role in Red Power activism from the 1960s to the 1970s. Register Here


    November 10, 5:45pm (central): Waktaun: Pay Attention, Be Aware with Guest Speaker, J. Dakotah

    Union Pacific’s LEAD (Lead, Educate, Achieve and Develop) and CONAH (Council of Native American Heritage) employee resource groups and Creighton University invite community members to a live virtual event, Waktaun: Pay Attention; Be Aware, focused on human trafficking within Indian Country. Register Here


    November 21, 5:30pm (central): Show and Tell - Steam into Saturday Virtual Happy Hour
    We'll share some of our favorite items from the historical collection, and we invite you to bring your own pieces of railroad history or memorabilia to show off. (The museum cannot offer appraisals of items. This is just for fun) Register Here


    December 5, 5:30pm (central): Wartime Railroad Advertising - Steam into Saturday Virtual Happy Hour
    How did the railroad advertise its support for wartime mobilization? Join us for an exploration of Union Pacific's wartime posters. Register Here


    December 8, 2:00pm (central): Wheels of War - Virtual Presentation

    Railroads have played a part in every U.S. war since 1860. During the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Gulf War, and even today, railroads transported soldiers and everything they need, from tanks to uniforms. Learn more about this exciting history through this webinar. Register Here

  • Museum Reopening Update

    While we are eager to welcome you into the museum again, our primary concern is the health and safety of all visitors, volunteers and staff. We are closely monitoring local COVID-19 reporting and following CDC recommendations.


    For the museum to reopen safely the surrounding community needs to have a 14 day decline in new COVID-19 cases and a stable or decreasing positivity rate of 5%. This standard has not yet been met.


    Until that benchmark occurs our reopening is delayed to protect our guests, volunteers and staff.

    In the meantime, we will continue to host virtual events. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for new opportunities to engage with the Museum.

    Once a firm reopening date is announced, you will be able to reserve your visit time here. We will be open Fridays and Saturdays 12-6pm. Reservations must be made at least 2 hours in advance.

    Until this pandemic has passed or a vaccine is widely available, we will be making a few changes to keep our community safe.


    To visit the Union Pacific Museum you will need to:
    · Make a reservation online at least 2 hours in advance. It’s still free to visit, but we will only be admitting one party of visitors at 30 min intervals to encourage social distancing and avoid crowding.
    · Come in family or household groups of less than 10 people. Register everyone in your party together. We are only allowing one party of up to 10 people to enter the museum every 30 min
    · Wear a facemask or face covering. All visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear a face mask or covering.
    · Come to the museum entrance at your appointed time. If you arrive early, you will have to wait outside. If you arrive late, you will not be able to enter.
    · Follow all posted directional signage and information  


    Remember – if you or a household member are feeling sick, please wait to visit! 


    *Reopening date is subject to change 


    There is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that spreads through person-to-person contact and can lead to severe illness and death. By visiting the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. 

  • Public Access Temporarily Suspended

    Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 virus, in the best interest of our visitors and staff, the Union Pacific Museum will suspend public access starting March 14, 2020. All programs and tours have been cancelled until further notice. We are committed to the health, safety, and well-being of our visitors, volunteers and staff. We look forward to seeing you when the danger has passed.

  • Small | Union Pacific Museum at Night

    FREE First Friday Night at the Museum Every Month

    Create, learn, and play! Until further notice, First Fridays will happen virtually on Facebook and on this web page. Check in for interesting histories, activities to do at home, and ideas to stave off cabin fever.

  • Small | UPRRM_National Bison Day Flyer

    National Bison Day Community Conversation

    The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is recognizing National Bison Day with a community roundtable conversation Saturday, Nov. 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. This fast-paced, participatory conversation will challenge four community leaders and bison experts to answer the question: “Bison are important because…?” Visitors are welcome to attend, listen and take part in an examination and discussion on the role of buffalo or bison in North American and in the American West.

  • Small | Peter Boag: Challeging GEnder Stereotypes of the Old West

    “Stories of Subversion, Resistance, and Acceptance: Challenging Gender Stereotypes of the Classic Old West,” with Historian Peter Boag at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum

    The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is hosting a lecture by historian Peter Boag on Saturday, October 12 at 1 p.m. entitled, "Stories of Subversion, Resistance, and Acceptance: Challenging Gender Stereotypes of the Classic Old West."

  • Railroads in Native America Symposium

    Railroads in Native America: Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Construction

    August 15, 2019

    Railroads in Native America is a three-day symposium bringing together scholars, artists, musicians, tribal members and representatives from tribal governments, in partnership with the National Park Service, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.