Quick Facts

The Museum Is:
  • One of 27 state historic sites operated by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ Historic Sites Section. Located in Historic Spencer, halfway between Greensboro and Charlotte.
  • Eighteen structures spread over a 57-acre site. Four buildings, including the 120,000 square-foot Roundhouse, contain exhibits open to the public.
  • A collection of 80 pieces of rolling stock (trains, cars, engines, etc.), including 25 locomotives. Also on the site are three airplanes, a Conestoga wagon, a 1935 Highway Patrol car, vintage automobiles, more than 10,000 small artifacts, and 1,500 pieces in the research library.
  • Staffed by 16 permanent state employees and 5 temporary state employees.
  • Benefited by 43 interpretative volunteers, who give tours and explain the history of transportation to visitors, and 104 rail operation volunteers, who restore and maintain rolling stock.
  • Supported by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation, the museum’s non-profit educational support organization. The Foundation, which has more then 1,600 members, assists the museum in its search for government, corporate and individual support.
  • A popular destination for everyone. The museum’s visitation topped 1 million in 1997 and is quickly nearing 2 million. A record 129,597 people visited the museum in 2001.
  • Also a popular educational resource. During the state’s 2004–05 fiscal year, more than 12,350 students and their teachers visited the site. Surveys continue to show 100 percent of teachers interviewed would return to the museum.
  • A key component of the partnership among the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation. These organizations work together to secure funding and support for the museum’s repair and restoration projects, including the current drive to restore the Back Shop and Powerhouse as major transportation exhibits.
  • An example if restoration success. More than 20 contractors took part in the restoration of the Roundhouse, exhibits, Barber Junction Depot, turntable, parking lots and overhead bridge. Total cost of the restoration projects—completed in 1996—was $8.2 million.
  • A close partner with Spencer, Salisbury and Rowan County. These communities are strong financial partners of the museum.
  • A significant positive economic impact on Rowan County. A study completed in April 2000 by Michael Kanters, Ph. D, NCSU, revealed that the museum generates 132 jobs, 127 households, more than $2.4 million of annual income, $3.3 million of annual retail spending, and nearly $2.5 million of annual service purchase activity.