Virginia Museum of Transportation

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Virginia Museum of Transportation
Virginiamuseumoftransportation.jpg
Virginia Museum of Transportation is located in United States
Location within USA
EstablishedApril 1986
LocationRoanoke, Virginia
Coordinates37°16′23″N 79°56′50″W / 37.272943°N 79.947231°W / 37.272943; -79.947231
TypeTransport museum
Website

http://www.vmt.org

Norfolk and Western Railway Freight Station
Virginia Museum of Transportation is located in Virginia
Location303 Norfolk Ave, Roanoke, Virginia
Coordinates37°16′23″N 79°56′46″W / 37.27306°N 79.94611°W / 37.27306; -79.94611Coordinates: 37°16′23″N 79°56′46″W / 37.27306°N 79.94611°W / 37.27306; -79.94611
Area57.7 acres (23.4 ha)
Builtc. 1918 (1918)
Built byNorfolk and Western Railway
Governing bodyLocal
NRHP Reference #12000969[1]
VLR #128-6162
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 21, 2012
Designated VLRSeptember 20, 2012[2]
 
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Virginia Museum of Transportation
Virginiamuseumoftransportation.jpg
Virginia Museum of Transportation is located in United States
Location within USA
EstablishedApril 1986
LocationRoanoke, Virginia
Coordinates37°16′23″N 79°56′50″W / 37.272943°N 79.947231°W / 37.272943; -79.947231
TypeTransport museum
Website

http://www.vmt.org

Norfolk and Western Railway Freight Station
Virginia Museum of Transportation is located in Virginia
Location303 Norfolk Ave, Roanoke, Virginia
Coordinates37°16′23″N 79°56′46″W / 37.27306°N 79.94611°W / 37.27306; -79.94611Coordinates: 37°16′23″N 79°56′46″W / 37.27306°N 79.94611°W / 37.27306; -79.94611
Area57.7 acres (23.4 ha)
Builtc. 1918 (1918)
Built byNorfolk and Western Railway
Governing bodyLocal
NRHP Reference #12000969[1]
VLR #128-6162
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 21, 2012
Designated VLRSeptember 20, 2012[2]

The Virginia Museum of Transportation is a museum devoted to the topic of transportation located in Downtown Roanoke, Virginia, US.

History[edit]

The Virginia Museum of Transportation began its life in 1963 as the Roanoke Transportation Museum located in Wasena Park in Roanoke, Virginia. The museum at that time was housed in an old Norfolk & Western Railway freight depot on the banks of the Roanoke River. The earliest components of the museum's collection included a United States Army Jupiter rocket and the famous N&W J Class Locomotive #611, donated by Norfolk & Western Railway to the city of Roanoke where many of its engines were constructed. The museum expanded its collection to include other pieces of rail equipment such as a former DC Transit PCC streetcar, and a number of horse-drawn vehicles including a hearse, a covered wagon, and a Studebaker wagon.

In November 1985, a flood nearly destroyed the museum, and much of its collection. It forced the shutdown of the facility and the refurbishment of #611. In April 1986, the museum re-opened in Norfolk and Western Railway Freight Station in downtown Roanoke as the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The museum has earned that title, being recognized by the General Assembly of Virginia as the Commonwealth's official transportation museum.

The locomotives Norfolk & Western 611 and Norfolk & Western 1218 were originally property of The City of Roanoke due to the museums original charter. On the April 2, 2012, VMT's 50 Birthday, the city officially gifted the locomotive titles to the museum.[3]

The Norfolk and Western Railway Freight Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.[1] The station consists of two clearly identifiable sections, both of which were completed in 1918. They are the two-story, fifty-bay-long Freight Station proper which was built parallel to the railroad tracks and now is oriented south, and the one-story-with-basement brick Annex that formerly housed the offices of the Shenandoah and Radford divisions of the Norfolk and Western. The building closed for railroad freight business in 1964.[4]

Galleries and exhibits[edit]

Automobile Gallery[edit]

The first exhibit to be featured in the Automobile Gallery is the "From Mud to Mobility: A History of the Virginia Department of Transportation." The gallery's floor has been painted to reproduce the theme of this exhibit, beginning with a dirt road and graduating to a full-fledged interstate highway. The Virginia Department of Transportation will sponsor this exhibit, featuring motorized dioramas, Burma-Shave signs, billboards, and a video history of the department. Many of the museum's antique automobiles are on display here as well. The museum also features occasional special exhibits such as the "Hollywood Star Cars" exhibit which showcased famous cars from the history of television and movies.[5]

Railroad exhibits[edit]

Five on-going exhibits cover sundry aspects of railroad life in America, especially Virginia. In addition to these on-going exhibits, the museum maintains an O-Gauge train layout modeled after Roanoke, Salem, and Lynchburg, Virginia.

"Working the High Iron - A pictorial history of the N & W Railway"
This exhibit features many photos of the men and women who worked for Norfolk & Western throughout the years.
"The Claytor Brothers - Virginians Building America's Railroad"
Detailing the lives of Graham and Robert Claytor, this exhibit explores their past and their relationship that led to the merger of the Norfolk & Western and Southern Railways.
"African American Heritage on the Norfolk and Western Railroad - 1930-1970"
This exhibit is the result of an oral history project sponsored in part by Roanoke area businesses and individuals to document the often-ignored roles played by African-Americans on the rails. The exhibit includes pictures, artifacts, and recorded interviews with African-Americans who worked for the railroad.
"Big Lick"
This exhibit reproduces a 1930s rural train depot, featuring freight scales, a telegrapher's office, time tables, and a velocipede hand car used for servicing track.

Aviation gallery (future)[edit]

This area will showcase aircraft past and present. Artifacts include a hot air balloon, a gyrocopter, as well as two experimental planes, and a hang glider. Various models and photographs flesh out this exhibit. In the works are plans to add an interactive cockpit model with flight simulators, and a U.S. Army Cobra helicopter.

Collection[edit]

From January 20, 2011 to May 3, the museum was home to Chesapeake and Ohio 614 as part of the museum's "Thoroughbreds of Steam" exhibit. Other pieces include automobiles such as a 1913 Metz, a 1920 Buick touring car, a Highway Post Office Bus, and an armored car used to showcase the Bill of Rights in 1991.

Rolling stock[edit]

Though the most prominent pieces of the museum's collection are the two Norfolk & Western engines, there are more than fifty pieces of rolling stock in the collection. Some exhibits may be closed to the public as restoration is in progress on some pieces. While the most of the railyard is ADA accessible to view the rolling stock, entry into the piece are not as they were built long before the standards of 1990. Some of the museums collection needs heavy restoration and is stored offsite on a track allowed by Norfolk Southern.

Steam[edit]

Electric[edit]

Diesel-electric[edit]

[8]

Freight cars[edit]

Passenger cars[edit]

Cabooses[edit]

Other unique rolling stock[edit]

http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Caboose-loop/Caboose-start.html

Automobile collection[edit]

Automobiles[edit]

Trucks[edit]

Other road vehicles[edit]

Aviation collection[edit]

The museum is currently seeking exhibits for their aviation gallery while it is under construction.

References[edit]

External links[edit]