Omaha’s Union Station, the first art-deco style train terminal in the country, was completed in 1931. After Amtrak took over all passenger rail service in 1971, the train station closed. It was almost demolished, but the railroad donated the station to the City of Omaha instead. Today the building is home to the Durham Museum. The museum’s permanent exhibits highlight Omaha area history, as well as temporary, traveling exhibits from sources like the Smithsonian.
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At first glance when you enter the Durham Museum, you may think it’s still a train station. The ticket windows are still there, but the area behind them is now a gift shop. The soda fountain still serves old-fashioned phosphates and ice-cream treats.
Go down to the lower level to view museum exhibits. Union Pacific, headquartered in Omaha, is one of the highlighted features. The Union Pacific exhibit includes several railroad cars that you can walk through, including an old club car.
Feet getting tired? Rest them a bit in the Mutual of Omaha Theater while you view a film about the history of Omaha. Omaha is also headquarters, of course, for Mutual of Omaha, a large insurance company. The city is also big in the telecommunications industry and food processing. You’ll find exhibits on all of these industries in the museum.
See a reproduction of the Buffet Store, a general store that was owned by Sidney Buffet. Sidney’s son, Ernest, organized the Buy-Rite Store Association. The association purchased products in bulk and passed the savings on to customers.
Another museum exhibit features the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition that Omaha hosted in 1898. This world fair event showcased the West.Temporary exhibits usually last a few months and often include hands-on activities. During our visit “Identity: An Exhibition of You” demonstrated how genetics, brain chemistry and social interaction work together to make you who you are. The child in me could have spent the entire afternoon on the exhibit’s interactive stations.
If you visit the Durham Museum
The Durham Museum, located at 801 South 10th Street in Omaha, is open Tuesday through Sunday, except on major holidays. Check the web site for hours and further details, including upcoming temporary exhibits and events.
Disclosures: The Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Durham Museum hosted our visit to the museum. Our admission was complimentary, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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