Working on the Railroad
New Mexico History Museum
Oct 18, 2019 through Oct 18, 2021


They came from all over, and through back-breaking manual labor, railroad workers transformed the United States and impacted millions of lives. When the railroad came to New Mexico in 1879, it brought thousands of job opportunities for local people from rural villages, reservations, and larger towns. In addition to the homegrown workforce, the railroad also brought immigrant Chinese, European, and Mexican laborers to New Mexico. On a national scale, by the time women were granted the vote under the 19th Amendment in 1920, one out of every 50 citizens worked for the railroad; this number increased exponentially during the US’ involvement in World War II.

Working on the Railroad tells another side of New Mexico’s locomotive history that makes no mention of passenger trains or tourism; visitors will leave the exhibition with a greater appreciation of the difficulty of this work.  All workers are represented – women, people of color, immigrants, young and old – and most jobs are represented, both on and off the tracks.                         

From steel gangs to machinists and car cleaners to conductors, every role in the railroad industry served an important purpose.   

Opening October 18 and running through a date to be determined in 2021. Working on the Railroad is featured in the Mezzanine Gallery of the History Museum near the Fred Harvey installation.


Related Releases

09/19/19

Related Photos

19-NMHM-Railroads-Railroad depot Engle NM
19-NMHM-Railroads - Denver and Rio Grande railroad pileup
19-NMHM-Railroads - Denver and Rio Grande railroad pileup
19-NMHM-Railroads-Unidentified group of Railroad workers, NM
19-NMHM-Railroads-Railroad depot Engle NM
19-NMHM-Railroads - Denver and Rio Grande railroad pileup
19-NMHM_Railroads-Track Laying
19-NMHM-Railroads - Denver and Rio Grande railroad pileup
19-NMHM-Railroads-Railroad depot Engle NM
19-NMHM-Railroads-Unidentified group of Railroad workers, NM
19-NMHM-Railroads-Railroad depot Silver City


Back to Exhibition List »