Education Programs

Trains and railroads impact our lives each day in many different ways. The railroads helped build our nation and are woven into the history and culture of our country. The National Railroad Museum's educational programming explores all aspects of railroading with programs for all ages. Whether you visit the Museum or participate in an outreach program, learning about trains and railroads is engaging, challenging and fun.

Specialized Programs

History, science, math, literature, art, social science, even music can be studied through the railroads. The National Railroad Museum offers educational programs beyond our basic tour presentations that explore specific topics.

These programs are immersive, hands-on and cater to all age groups. Programs listed here require pre-registration and are offered on the dates indicated. Please register as early as possible, as many of these programs fill to capacity very quickly.

• A Day in the Life …

Guided by Museum instructors, students learn about the United States during the 1860s. Covering a wide range of material that fulfills many of the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards, this day-long program offers a series of hands-on, educational activities. Activities inlcude: playing the role of a Civil War soldier, laying track on the Transcontinental Railroad, navigating a wagon train along the California Trail, working as a Pony Express rider, surveying and more.

Grades: 3 – 8

May 9, 10, 11, 12, 2017
(Programming begins at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 2:15 p.m.)

Location: National Railroad Museum

Fee: $7.50 per student

Registration: Contact the Education Director at:
(920) 437-7623, x-16 or

Future dates for A Day in the Life … include:

    • 2018 - May 8, 9, 10, 11
    • 2019 - May 7, 8, 9, 10
    • 2020 - May 5, 6, 7, 8

• Holidays on the Rails

The holidays and trains go together perfectly. Visit the Museum for seasonal stories, crafts, activities, a train ride and a visit with Santa. Students move between numerous activity stations, each featuring an inter-active, hands-on experience.

Grades: pre-K – 2

December 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 2015 (Programming begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m. Please allow 90 min.)

Location: National Railroad Museum

Fee: $5.00 per student

Registration: Contact the Education Director at: (920) 437-7623, x-16 or

• A Night in the Hobo Jungle

Catch out as a hobo during this overnight adventure. Learn what it was like to be a hobo during the Great Depression. We’ll speak the hobo language, cook hobo stew, construct Hoover shacks and listen to railroad stories in our hobo jungle. Programming begins Friday or Saturday evenings at 5:30 p.m. and concludes on Saturday or Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Participants may then explore the Museum.

Open to: Any youth/school group

Offered: Friday and Satruday nights in January, February, March and October (Other dates by special arrangement)

Duration: Arrive at 5:30 p.m. first day. Programming concludes at 9 a.m. next day.

Group size: 16 - 50 individuals

Cost: $35.00 per participant, minimum 16 participants or equivalent payment.

• Pullman Porters: From Service to Civil Rights Tour and Program

Take an in-depth, guided tour of the exhibit, Pullman Porters: From Service to Civil Rights, followed by engaging discussion and age-appropriate activities. Students will delve into the history of passenger train travel while discovering the role that porters played in the civil and labor rights movements as well as the other American events in the 20th century.

Grades: 3 – adult

Program offered throughout the year (may be limited by staff availability); 120 min. program

Location: National Railroad Museum

Fee: $6.50 (under age 12); $8.50 (age 12+)

Registration: Contact the Education Director at: (920) 437-7623, x-16 or

• Railroad Storytime

Join us for an exciting series of railroad-themed storytimes. Each week we’ll hear stories, participate in activities and be surprised by special events. There are plenty of take home activities to continue your fun. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children. You don’t have to attend every session.

Winter Railroad Storytime

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

Offered: All storytimes begin at 10 a.m.

2017 — To be announced in September 2016

Fall Railroad Storytime

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

Offered: All storytimes begin at 10 a.m.

2016 — To be announced in August 2016

Duration: Each program lasts 30 to 40 minutes with additional Stay and Play activities afterward

Group size: This program is open to the public and not designed for daycare or school groups

Cost: Museum members: Free; Non-members: One parent/guardian and two children: $5.00 per session.

• Summer Railroad Camp

It’s a summer camp with trains! For five days, we’ll explore trains and railroading with plenty of hands-on activities. We’ll work on a model railroad, cook food with original dining car recipes and explore the Museum in a manner exclusive to the camp program. If you like trains this is the summer activity for you.

Recommended for boys and girls ages 9 – 12

Offered: 2016 – July 11-15

Please note: Summer Railroad Camp will be expanding to include additional age groups in 2016. We will announce the new camps on our website in January 2016.

Duration: Five daily sessions; 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Group Size: 24 maximum

Cost: $110.00 for Members and $120.00 for Non-Members

Registration: Contact the Education Director at: (920) 437-7623, x-16 or

• Railroading Merit Badge Workshop

Click here to register for the 2016 Workshop

Following the merit badge requirements, Scouts participate in a series of six workshops. Successful completion of the activities will earn the Railroading Merit Badge. During this engaging program, we learn about rail safety, how locomotives work, what freight trains carry, how to plan a train trip, railroad signaling and the inner workings of the National Railroad Museum.

Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts (Juniors and above) are welcome to participate. Activities can be applied toward completion of other awards, but will not count for the Railroading Merit Badge.

Open to: all Boy Scouts and adult leaders

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Location: National Railroad Museum (Check-in day of program begins at 7:30 a.m. Program 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

Fee: $9.50 for scouts and adults

Register at beginning July 15. Registration is limited to 300 Scouts and 100 adults.

Questions: Contact the Education Director at: (920) 437-7623, x-16 or

Future dates for the Railroading Merit Badge Workshop include:

  • 2017 – November 4
  • 2018 – November 3
  • 2019 - November 2
  • 2020 - November 7

  1. Railroading Merit Badge Workshop FAQs

Educational Resources

The educational mission of the National Railroad Museum includes providing resources for use outside our formalized programs. Please feel free to download and use the resources below as a supplement to a Museum program or for other educational purposes.

    Authentic Resources

  1. A railroad worker cleans a Canadian National Locomotive in 1959.
  2. A telegrapher sends a message as several people observe his skill in this c. 1898 photograph.
  3. A wrecking crane works to clear a derailed refrigerator car near Wheeling, Illinois in 1949.
  4. An African-American man cleans a marker lamp. Circa 1930.
  5. Late 19th century railroad workers line the top of this unknown bridge.
  6. Lincoln’s funeral train makes its way home to Illinois in 1865, bearing the slain president’s body.
  7. Onlookers watch a steam locomotive chug its way across the western prairie in 1898.
  8. Railroad surveyors wait near the entrance of a trestle bridge. Circa 1910.
  9. Smoke belches from Union Pacific locomotives in Laramie, Wyoming. 1943.
  10. The “Iola,” a classic 4-4-0 American-type steam locomotive pulls into an Oshkosh, Wisconsin train depot in this c. 1900 photograph.
  11. Train tracks run through a small town in this photo taken in the last century.
  12. Two unemployed railroad workers sit idly by during the Pullman Strike 1894 in this Ray Stannard Baker Photo; Chicago, Illinois.
  13. Benchmarks & Standards

  14. Benchmarks & Standards
  15. Education Lesson Plans

  16. Pullman Porter Scavenger Hunt
  17. Pullman Porter Scavenger Hunt Answers
  18. Porter Discussion Questions
  19. Porter Photograph Worksheet
  20. Segregation Activity Cards
  21. Pre Visit: Understanding Segregation
  22. Post Visit: Help Create a Labor Union
  23. Post Visit: Characteristics of an Activist
  24. Post Visit: Civil and Labor Rights Photo Activity

Outreach Programs

Sometimes actually visiting the National Railroad Museum is not practical or possible. For such times, we can provide programming at your site. Our out reach programs offer the same engaging format with hands-on activities where appropriate. If you can’t visit us, let us visit you.

• Learning Locomotive

We’re packing up our train and coming to your site. The Learning Locomotive is an interactive program designed to educate pre-K and early elementary students about railroads. The program includes train stories, hands-on activities and coloring or craft projects. All portions of the program are punctuated with activities that will allow the child to role play, touch, and interact with their parents and caretakers.

Grades: pre-K – 2

Program offered throughout the year (may be limited by staff availability); 60 min. program (30-40 minute program plus informal activities)

Location: Your site with up to 100 participants

Fee: $50 in Brown County, WI; $75 outside Brown County, WI up to 100 miles from Green Bay, WI); For sites beyond 100 miles from Green Bay please call for fees.

Registration: Contact the Education Director at: (920) 437-7623, x-16 or

• Customized Youth/Adult Programs

Is there a railroad topic you’d like to discuss? Do you have a classroom lesson that could be supplemented? Might you need a speaker for a dinner, training session or convention? We would be happy to customize a program to fit your needs. Custom programming can be provided in a number of formats with age-appropriate information and activities.

Available to groups of any age

Program offered throughout the year (may be limited by staff availability)

Location: Your site

Fee: Please contact the Education Director for fees

Registration: Contact the Education Director at: (920) 437-7623, x-16 or

National Railroad Museum
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  • Green Bay, WI 54304
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