Project Summary



Museum criteria

Exceptional quality of construction and displays; Design in the style of an railroad back shop; For national and world notoriety the museum must be of high quality throughout--in its collections, interpretive displays, and staff; Staff must be well trained in their particular areas of expertise, paid a competitive salary, and have a reasonable amount of job security; Archives available to researchers; Open year round.

Potential benefits to the Arizona economy

The museum, particularly being co-located with the Grand Canyon Railway, has the potential for attracting a world audience. For northern Arizona, this translates into direct additional revenues to business throughout the tourist industry. For state, counties, and cities this translates into direct additional tax revenues estimated to be in the $4.95 to $9 million range. This increased visitation will also create the need for an additional 340 jobs. As the Museum will have a positive cash flow it will be self supporting and able to grant funds for the support of other Arizona museums and cultural projects.

Potential displays

The Museum will have as its emphasis the cultural heritage of Arizona as part of the seventy-six railroads that served the entire state. The cultural and ethnic diversity surrounding the mining, logging, ranching, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and the military is extensive and will be the focus of the Museum’s highly interactive educational exhibits. Motive power and rolling stock will be featured in static displays with a variety of steam and diesel locomotives, freight, passenger, and special purpose rolling stock. Interpretive displays will emphasize railroad and industrial workers in juxtaposition with appropriate artifacts. Other interpretive displays will feature aspects such as track construction, Fred Harvey Company history, and the impact of the Santa Fe Ry and Grand Canyon Ry on Grand Canyon National Park. Art exhibits in the Museum’s gallery will have a particular emphasis on railroad and national park advertising art.

Currently the Museum has motive power, rolling stock, signal equipment and artifacts on hand valued at more than $2.8 million. Additional artifacts committed to the Museum collection are in the process of accession.


Historically, Williams has hosted the world as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon. From 1900 to 1968 travelers arrived at the rim by train after passing through Williams. Although a key city on historic Route 66 for many years, Williams, along with the National Park Service, has returned to supporting visitation to the South Rim via the Grand Canyon Railway since 1989. The Museum will be located on 21 acres within the city limits of Williams.

Size of Facility

21 acres with 106,500 sq ft under cover


Initial: $25 million for design, construction, acquisition, and conservation of artifacts

Annual: (approx--subject to staffing)--$1.2 million


Initial construction: Bonds; Grants; State and Federal legislative appropriations Operating: Admission; Fee for services programs; Museum store; Grants; Memberships; Donations; Special events such as a "railfair" every five years; Special events in cooperation with National Railroad Historical Society; Conference rental of auditorium.

1923 Shay locomotive No. 5 in Saginaw & Manistee

Lumber Company livery at Williams. It will be the

center piece for the logging railroad exhibits.