Roundhouse Rail Equipment

North Carolina Transportation Museum - 2017-ongoing

This museum, where I currently work, covers all inland modes of transportation in North Carolina. Rail transportation takes center stage since the museum is built at a preserved steam locomotive maintenance facility. The 37-track roundhouse, built around a turntable which still sees daily use, was once one of thousands across the world but is now a rare survivor. The locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and other rail equipment displayed inside have a rich history serving people across the southeast United States.

I am in the process of researching, writing, and designing a label for every piece of rail equipment which could be displayed in this building. The intended audience is adults interested enough to read labels, but who likely have little knowledge of train facts.

The labels themselves are durable enough for outdoor use but can be quickly moved by one person with a hand truck. The rail equipment is often moved around the 60 acre site or reshuffled in the roundhouse. Each label is printed on aluminum 36” wide by 60” high and mounted on a heavy cast iron stanchion.

The main educational elements of each label are described below.

 

Label Elements

Title

A snappy snippet which introduces the main story of the artifact

Subhead

Gives the name of the artifact (railroad and number), its model, and its build date

Introduction

Expands on the title and tells the story of the artifact’s use.

Map

Where did this train go? Every label needs a map.

Fast Facts

Want to know how fast this thing goes? You’ll find those stats here!

Preservation

The Introduction told the story of the artifact’s use. This section tells the story of the artifact itself from its original owner to the museum

Cool Tidbit

The content of this section varies by artifact. Sometimes it points out a physical feature, such as this locomotive’s red warning light. Other times it tells a cool story which doesn’t fit in the Introduction.

Photo of the Artifact

So you can match the text with the train