Red River Museum to open new facility

staff reports

The Red River Railroad Museum will have a new place to call home after its grand opening celebration Saturday. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 124 W. Main Street in Denison.

"The museum opened its doors on Oct. 28, 1989 in the historic Katy Depot, and called that location home until March of this year when it moved one block west to 124 W. Main Street," a news release about the grand opening said.

“It was a sad day when we realized that we could no longer stay in the depot," Museum Curator and Executive Director Roy Jackson said in the release. "From the inception of the museum it was conceded that the logical location was the Katy Depot."

Students celebrate the success of a recent hot chocolate fundraiser at HeyDay in Denison in 2020. Four teams of students raised more than $10,000 in support of the Red River Railroad Museum as a part of Denison's annual Christmas parade festivities.

After the sale of the building and renovations, the museum board decided to relocate and the former Sparrows Art Gallery became appealing as a viable site.

“While our new location is smaller than our former home, the fact that it was designed as an art gallery presented a space that allows us to better showcase our collections," Jackson said. "At the depot the space was divided into two separate areas, which made it challenging to tell the railroad story in sequential order. In our new location we can start at the very beginning with the story of Pat Tobin driving the first Missouri-Kansas-Texas train into Denison on Christmas Eve, 1872.”

The Red River Railroad Museum was considering its future following low volunteerism, funding cuts and lower-than-required representation on the board of directors in 2020. This year, the museum has made major changes.

In addition to the museum’s gallery, the new site also has a room where railroad movies will be shown. 

Natalie Clountz Bauman will be signing her book 'When the West was Wild in Denison Texas.'

“Thanks to the foresight of individuals such as Jim O’Brien and Delbert Taylor, who had the vision for the museum and tirelessly sought and collected railroad items, we now have an extensive collection of approximately 10,000 items that are either on display or in storage," Jackson said in the release. "Our new location affords us the ability to rotate exhibits and keep the collections fresh and informative for museum visitors.”