News & Events

New Museum Visitor Center Coming to Boulder City

After the passage of the Capital Improvement Bill, AB 1, The Nevada State Railroad Museum Boulder City was granted final approval for the construction of a new museum Visitor’s Center. The CIP bill passed by the Special Session of the Nevada State Legislature grants over $23 million to build the center on the grounds of the museum. 

A massive project, the new Visitor’s Center will allow the museum to hold programming and educational initiatives. Currently, the museum is without a building and operates the railway on a covered platform. The new building will include hands-on exhibits, a classroom for visiting students, and weekend educational programs, as well as a research archive. The museum’s classroom will be made available as a community meeting room when not utilized for educational programs. 

Exhibits in the new building will include a mix of informative panels, display cases housing artifacts, documents, models, and hands-on activities that interpret the history and technology of railroading in Nevada. The permanent exhibit explores the role of railroads in Nevada’s mining booms, constructing Hoover Dam and Boulder City, railroad operations at the Nevada Test Site, and the myriad ways railroads continue to support our state. A projection map theater will allow visitors to journey by rail through time exploring key themes from the permanent exhibit. 

The Visitor’s Center will also include a new shaded passenger loading platform for the museum’s excursion train rides. The platform will load both standard- and narrow-gauge railroad equipment allowing the museum to interpret and offer rides behind a variety of historic trains.  

The Visitor’s Center will be constructed on the northwest corner of Nevada Highway and Boulder City Parkway. It will include guest parking, a loading zone for school and tour buses, and ample bike racks.  

“This is an exciting step for the museum!” said museum director Dr. Christopher MacMahon. “This project allows the museum to expand its educational and preservation missions in ways it cannot presently accomplish while continuing to be a valuable partner in the community.” 

The Boulder City Chamber of Commerce estimates Boulder City businesses to see an increase of over $900,000 in annual sales directly related to visitation at the museum. “Railroads have always been about connecting communities,” said Dr. MacMahon, “and in that spirit the Visitor’s Center will have a community connection board that points visitors to activities, points of interest, and other museums in the area.” The visitor center will also include a tablet provided by the Chamber of Commerce that allows visitors to find local restaurants and businesses, many of which are within walking distance from the museum. 

The funding request was supported by the City of Boulder City, the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Museums and History, the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway, community members, and spearheaded by the Department of Museums and History. 

The project is funded through conservation bonds. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2024 with an opening date in 2026. 

Other projects in AB1 Bill include improvements to the other museums in the Nevada State Museum network to improve air systems to maintain archival documents and artifacts, and an $8.5 million dollar investment in the East Ely Depot Museum for seismic retrofit and overhaul of the Freight Building into a community center. The Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs is receiving over $38 million for the projects. More information on them can be found here:

Future expansion plans at the Nevada State Railroad Museum will see the development of a linear park connecting the east and west ends of the museum campus, an exhibit hall for the indoor display of railroad equipment, and additional outdoor display tracks and shade structures. More information on the project can be found HERE.