WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Railroad Museum opened up sometime in the late 80s and served as a fixture in downtown Wichita Falls for years.
But the museum has been permanently closed for months and all of the property in the museum was given back to the city.
“Unfortunately, the board lost their volunteer base and a lot of other things happened and I think COVID was really the big issue for them and so they weren’t able to continue operating it,” Director of Museum of North Texas History Madeleine Calcote-Garcia said.
The museum featured many pieces of railroad history including everything from conductor uniforms to whole train cars. Since the closing in November 2020, the museum and all of its artifacts have been left untouched but it is important for the city to make sure these valuable pieces of history are protected.
“Just reminding the community of the importance that the railroads had and the founding of Wichita Falls and they are still important to Wichita Falls today, just not the same as when they were running passengers and mail all over the country,” Calcote-Garcia said.
There are a few ideas regarding what exactly to do with the museum, but it can’t just sit there. So the Museum of North Texas History is asking for the city to transfer these items over to their collections.
“Railroad cars are pretty large and a lot of the ones that are on the property are in pretty poor conditions. So really just looking through all of them deciding which one restore finding someone to do that and all of these issues are going to be things we’re going to be working through in a couple of years,” Calcote-Garcia said.
Another idea is to turn the area where the cars are stored, into a railroad park accessible to the public from downtown.
“We’re really excited to work to preserve this history. We know they’ve been there for a long time and we’re excited to start this process of preservation and hopefully getting them opened back up to the public and some point,” Calcote-Garcia.