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Norfolk Southern donates N&W archives to Virginia museum

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Norfolk Southern Corporation is donating archives from the Norfolk and Western Railway to the Virginia Museum of History & Culture in Richmond.

It’s an extensive collection that dates to the 1840s, and the company says it includes thousands of documents, photographs and artifacts.

Norfolk Southern is also donating $750,000 to help the museum catalog, digitize and preserve the collection.

LaSandra Boykin is Director of Corporate Giving and Community Relations for Norfolk Southern.

“We knew that they... would do a really good job of not just preserving our archives, but really cataloging that material,” Boykin said of the Richmond museum. “And so we just felt like it was a really good opportunity to keep part of our history in Virginia.”

Adam Scher is the Vice President for Collections and Exhibitions at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

“We are the state’s history museum and the Norfolk and Western collection is just chock full of material, both archival material and three-dimensional artifacts that help to tell the story of how this railroad criss-crossed the Commonwealth and really built the economy of the state, enhanced travel opportunities as well and connected the state to other states throughout the Mid-Atlantic and into the Midwest,” Scher told WDBJ7 in an interview.

“It’s a very broad collection, in terms of material that I think has great potential for, not just the scholarly researcher, but for the average rail fan,” he said.

Museum officials are asking for patience from rail fans and historians. They say cataloging the collection and preparing for public access could take some time.

But once that happens, Boykin said she’s confident the archive will be an important resource for students, historians and railroad enthusiasts.

“I hope people will take a moment and look back and say gosh this railroad has been around a really long time and all the other predecessors that came before it to create Norfolk Southern,” Boykin said, “and really dig deep into the archives and learn more about our history, because it is such a rich history.”

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