by Lisa Downs -

The Durham Museum: Omaha's Treasure

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Family Days Out visited The Durham Museum, a unique treasure of Omaha and well worth a visit!

Located in the old Union Station in Omaha's Downtown District, The Durham Museum surpassed any expecations we had leading up to our visit. Not only was the museum filled with captivating exhibits that had such attention to detail, but the musuem itself is located in one of the most impressive examples of architecture we have ever seen.


Walk Through History!

Union Station itself was built back in 1931, so before you even see an exhibit, you are already in history. For 40 years, passenger trains connected the United States, until the final train departed in 1971.


In 1973, the Union Pacific gifted the station to the city of Omaha, and opened in 1975 as the Western Heritage Museum. A small museum filled with private collections.


After various renovations in 1995, the Western Heritage Museum re-opened in 1996, bigger and better.  This became Durham Heritage Museum, and ultimately The Durham Museum, and today, any families who visit Omaha absolutely need to make time for this experience. 


Just as the offical Durham Museum website states: "Beautiful architecture blends with memories of a time gone by". As soon as you walk in, you're not just walking into the admission area and gift shop.


Spot The Bronze Passengers

You're walking back into the 1930s. Brass statuettes of children, and of families, of grandparents, are placed around the station foyer as though they are frozen in time. A little girl waits for the train.... a gentleman stands at the ticket booth... all of which fitted with speakers that give the illusion they they have come to life. 


Love Trains?

The Durham Museum is housed in an old station, so it makes sense for kids to SEE actual locomotives within the museum! And yes, we mean REAL locomotives!

What's fascinating is to really learn how thriving the Union Station was during it's heyday, why the rail stopped passing through Omaha, and see how the museum has beautifully captured this history.


Yes kids, you can actually go INSIDE the trains too! What's great is they have created multiple carriages from different eras, so you can really get a feel of how train travel changed for passengers across the years.


A highlight for us was the model train set too - of course a working on! Just to see the train make it's way around the tracks, and the work that was put into such a display. Pretty impressive!


Kids can also see how other transportions evolved within Omaha. Seeing the vintage US Mail carriage was quite a highlight too!


FAQ: Durham Museum

Exhibits Galore

We spent about two hours within the museum, and still felt like we could have spent more time.


The exhibits really cover everything you could possibly want to learn about Omaha's history, from the explorers the town welcomed, to the once bustling fur trade industry, to the city's role as the corn capital of the US, feeding the cattle to be shipped across the country.


Don't miss an opportunity to get your photo taken with their resident Bison too!


Living Through The Years

Kids can see how people lived, what they ate, how they traveled, and what they did for work! Kids, can you imagine living 150 years ago!? Don't miss the great exhibits detailing the journey of Lewis & Clark too!


The detail in the exhibits will really make you feel like you have transported back in time! You'll see incredible examples of what life was like inside shops, and inside people's homes, right when Omaha was building into the city you know and love today.


With so many exhibits, and so many areas to wander through, you really do gain an incredible insight into the fascinating, rich and expansive history of Omaha.


A Sweet Treat!

Kids, don't miss the sweet treats at the end in their Ye Olde Sweet Shop, complete with soda machine and ice cream! Definitely worth a visit on your way out, past the gift shop of course :)


For any family visiting Omaha, the Durham Museum definitely should be on your "must visit" list!

Lisa Downs Written by
Lisa Downs

Lisa has been a content writer for Family Days Out for nearly 10 years, and a keen travel writer for nearly 20. She loves experiencing the best of a city, discovering the many things to do and immersing herself in the culture, and sharing these experiences with others through her writing.

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