COUNCIL BLUFFS — The Union Pacific Railroad Museum reopened Saturday after a month of work to transform its first floor into “Building America,” an exhibit dedicated to the history of the Transcontinental Railroad.
The museum is the first to use gaming technology to create an authentic experience for visitors, giving a sense of the scale of the work needed for building the railroad. For example, kids can “build” the railroad by “driving” spikes or walk through a model of a tunnel built by workers during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years ago.
The exhibit also includes a reproduction of the railroad car used for business by President Abraham Lincoln. The furnishings, however, are original. The museum also has Lincoln's rocking chair.
In all, more than 200 artifacts are on display, including one of the original spikes used to complete the transcontinental project.
“They used three spikes — the golden spike, a silver spike and a gold and silver spike. We have the gold and silver spike,” said Abby Cape, community and volunteer relations manager for the museum.
The museum is in the former Carnegie Library building at 200 Pearl St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.
Union Pacific Railroad provided funding for this renovation, with assistance from the Iowa West Foundation, the Friends of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the City of Council Bluffs.
Visit www.uprrmuseum.org or call 712-329-8307 for further information.