The Durham Western Heritage Museum

The Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, formerly known as the Union Station, is a beautifully restored Art-Deco style Union Pacific Railway station. In its heyday, 64 trains and 10,000 people arrived daily.

The museum features a waiting room with gold and silver leaf trim, 13' hanging chandeliers and a classic working soda fountain. A small seating area is adjacent to the soda fountain…complete with old fashioned tables and chairs. Here you can order a malted milk, chocolate soda or a hot dog, and watch as it is made.

In the waiting room you will evesdrop on recorded conversations from plaster castings of soldiers, sailors, families and other passengers of the 1930s, 40s and 50s who are scattered around th
e large room. One is found at the ticket counter asking when his train would arrive, others are sitting with their suitcases and bags waiting, waiting, waiting. If you sit down next to them or walk past, they begin to interact with each other or with you. You find yourself answering back, or saying “excuse me” if you are startled into thinking someone was talking to you.

The galleries in the lower section of the museum, accessable by stairs or an elevator, show the historical evolution of Omaha, with re-created townscapes, photographs and memorabilia from that time period. The museum boasts over 65,000 square feet of exhibits including the Byron Reed Coin, which has some of the world’s rarest and most valuable coins, the Document Collection, The Trans-Mississippi Exposition Gallery, restored train cars, a teepee, an earth lodge and more.

A full sized train awaits you as you step out of the lower doors to the train tracks. You can board the train and go through the various cars, the Pullman, the bar, and a very ornate car for a railroad executive.

Our children liked the compartments with a fold down bed and tiny toilet and wash basin. They said it made them feel like they were on the train with Harry Potter and on their way to Hogwarts!

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