North Carolina Transportation Museum
Backstory and Context
Founded in 1977, the museum began when the Southern Railway provided the state of North Carolina with 4 acres on which to develop a transportation oriented museum. 53 additional acres were provided within the following 2 years. In 1983 the first exhibit opened, titled “People, Places and Time”.
Since then the museum has continued to grow their collection, illustrating the historic and current significance of transportation, and preserving antiquated transportation models. The North Carolina Transportation Museum is a museum dedicated to illustrating the progression of transportation in the United States. While the focus of the museum largely correlates with trains and locomotive history, there is also significant attention given to automobiles and aircraft.
When visiting the museum, guests can explore 16 bays of locomotives and rail cars. In the Elmer Lam gallery, visitors can explore the aviation exhibits, including a full size Wright flyer replica. Additionally, Piedmont Airlines and other early flight artifacts are available to view, along with an educational interpretive center. In the reservation section of the museum, guests can experience watching volunteers work to repair pieces of railroad equipment. Through another section of the museum, The Flue Shop, guests can observe how the flues for steam engines were once produced, before progressing to the vintage and antique car exhibit. The museum is home to several Model As, Model Ts, and a Ford Model R, the rare, early model which predated the T, among other notable vehicles.
The museum is home to a heritage railroad. Guests are able to purchase tickets to ride the passenger train during their visit. Additionally, the museum hosts a variety of seasonal events, including both heritage and historic exhibitions and holiday celebrations, such as a winter holiday Polar Express.