Special Exhibit Series
The Museum regularly hosts exhibits depicting railroad art and photography as well as related railroad materials. These are typically presented in the second floor gallery and run for a number of months.
Railroads not only have attracted many fans, but have drawn the attention of skilled artists and photographers.
A FIRST CLASS RESTAURANT ON WHEELS: THE STORY OF THE RAILROAD DINING CAR
Saturday, April 26, 2014 through Wednesday, December 31, 2014.
For many years, the most memorable part of a train trip included a meal in a dining car, with comfortable accommodations, exquisite cuisine on fine china and service by well-trained staff.
Featuring artifacts and photos from the Museum’s collection, this exhibit highlights the golden age of dining car service and the ways in which the railroads made train travel memorable for their passengers.
By 1868, the first full railroad dining car, Delmonico — named after the luxurious New York restaurant — was constructed by the Pullman Palace Car Company for the Chicago & Alton Railroad. Within the next two decades, railroads around the country began having their own dining cars built. The advent of the diner marked the beginning of the golden age of American railroad travel.
For many years the most memorable part of a train trip included a meal in a dining car, with comfortable accommodations, exquisite cuisine on fine china and attentive service by well-trained staff.
By offering meals on a dining car, railroads could eliminate time wasted stopping for passengers to eat. Beyond ordinary dining, railroads wanted to create a positive restaurant experience so passengers would continue to patronize their line. Dining cars were often the showpieces of the railroad, featuring expensive wood detail, fine draperies, gilded lamps and large picture windows.
The railroad dining car was generally limited to no more than 24 to 30 diners at a time. They typically had a small kitchen at one end and a sizeable dining room at the other end, which consisted of tables with four seats on one side of the aisle and tables with either four seats or two seats on the other side.
Outstanding service, choreographed with precision, was the goal of the eight to 15-man dining car crew of stewards, waiters, cooks and a chef. A guest could enjoy a variety of menu options from the mundane to the exotic. Many menus offered regional delicacies. Table linens were crisp and spotless, and china, glass and silverware were of the highest quality.
Regular Museum hours. Included in the regular Museum admission.