SCHEDULE NOTICE: The museum will be closed Friday, November 16 to prepare for the holiday season. We apologize for any inconvenience.

ESTABLISHED
1929
  • 1929

    Construction began on Union Station in May of 1929. It was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood and Company in the art deco style of architecture. Mr. Underwood designed every detail of the building, including light fixtures, filing cabinets and doorplates.

    In a joint statement on March 31, 1929, both Union Pacific and Burlington officials announced the construction of a new Union Station and a remodeling of the Burlington Depot. The purpose of the collaboration between the two railroads was to provide "...Omaha railroad passengers, terminal facilities equal to those of any city of its size in the country."

  • 1931

    Union Station track access
    To be a union station, a train depot must serve more than one railroad line. Seven railroads stopped at Omaha’s Union Station.

    Union Station was completed and opened as a passenger train station. The dedication ceremony was held on January 15, 1931.

    What is a Union Station?

  • 1937

    Long stairways, later replaced by some of the first escalators in Omaha, descended to the tracks and the waiting trains below.

    The concourse connecting Union Station and the Burlington Depot across the railyard was erected to connect the two buildings.

  • 1971

    Increased air travel and the completion of major interstate highway networks significantly reduced passenger traffic on the nation's commercial rail system.

    Union Station closed after Congress established the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, now Amtrak, to handle all railroad passenger travel. The last train left Union Station at 2:00am May 2, 1971.

  • 1973

    Union Pacific gifts Union Station to the city of Omaha.

  • 1975

    The Bostwick-Frohardt Collection was the first donation to the museum and laid the foundation of the museum’s Photo Archive.

    Union Station opened as the Western Heritage Museum, displaying small regional history exhibits and private collections.

  • 1985

    The City of Omaha transfers the Byron Reed Collection from the Omaha Public Library to the Western Heritage Museum under the stipulation that it be cared for according to best practices and a portion of it always be available for public viewing.

  • 1995

    Sculptor John Laiba
    The current Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall was repainted and restored. Interactive sculptures by local sculptor John Lajba were added to the Great Hall, and a 22,000 square foot addition, now the Trish and Dick Davidson Gallery was built over Track #1.

    Restoration of Union Station closed the museum for six months. The $22 million project included a new parking deck, a new roof, new mechanical and electrical systems, new office spaces, classrooms, gift shop and new permanent exhibits.

  • 1996

    The renovation project was completed and the Western Heritage Museum reopened to the public.

  • 1997

    The Western Heritage Museum is re-named the Durham Western Heritage museum in honor of Charles and Margre Durham, the driving forces behind its restoration.

  • 2002

    This partnership allows the museum access to Smithsonian Institution artifacts through direct loan or as a part of traveling exhibits. In addition, access to educational programs is also available.

    During 2002, the museum welcomed its one-millionth visitor. In October, the Durham Western Heritage Museum is named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

  • 2003

    Construction began on the Velde Gallery of American History, a 12,500 square foot addition designed to house temporary exhibits.

  • 2004

    Churchill and the Great Republic, from the Library of Congress, was the inaugural exhibit in the new space.

    Construction of the Velde Gallery was completed. This facility, with its independent environmental system, was designed to respond to requirements associated with temporary exhibits from any national or international lender.

  • 2007

    Collaboration has grown to include not only the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress but the National Archives and prestigious private institutions including the Field Museum.

    Renovation of the 1899 boiler house, a relic of the first Union Station, commenced. The renovated facility houses the 266-seat theatre style Stanley and Dorothy Truhlsen Lecture Hall, an auditorium equipped with state of the art audio and video and digital learning technology.

  • 2008

    The museum is renamed The Durham Museum to better reflect its mission of not only preserving Omaha’s history but also educating the community on subjects related to the region, nation and world.

  • 2016

    A ceremony was held on April 7, 2017, to officially unveil the Historic Landmark plaque for Omaha's Union Station.

    On December 23, 2016, Union Station was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior.

TODAY

Beautiful architecture blends with memories of a time gone by at The Durham Museum. Making its home in one of Omaha’s most unique treasures, Union Station, The Durham Museum offers a fascinating look at the history of the region and offers a broad-range of traveling exhibits covering subjects ranging from history and culture, to science, industry and more through our affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution and strong ties with the Library of Congress, National Archives and the Field Museum.