Local Railroad Museum On Track For More Space

By Staff Reports, posted Oct 20, 2023
The Wilmington Railroad Museum is renting more space in one of the former Atlantic Coast Line buildings in downtown Wilmington. (Photo courtesy of the railroad museum)
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad moved its headquarters from Wilmington to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1960, leaving behind remnants of the city’s lengthy railroad history in the form of buildings on Nutt Street.

Founded in 1979, the Wilmington Railroad Museum has rented part of one of those former ACL buildings in downtown Wilmington from the city since 2006. This year, the museum got the opportunity to expand that lease to encompass the whole building at 505 Nutt St.

“We’re still in the planning stages of how best to utilize the space to fulfill our mission to the community,” said museum executive director Holli Saperstein.

But officials are certain that among the changes they want to see are more archive space and to expand the museum’s library, which are both open to the public by appointment for research.

“We’ll also have some additional meeting space that will be available to other groups, and we’re looking at being able to finally bring in some traveling exhibits that we haven’t been able to do before because of space configurations,” Saperstein said. “Like other New Hanover County attractions, the demand has increased since the pandemic – from 22,000 in 2019 to 30,000 in fiscal year 2022-23."

“It’s really important as part of Wilmington’s history to continue to have this space,” Saperstein said, “and make it bigger and better as our attendance has increased in the past few years.”
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