Located on the site of Southern Railway's largest steam locomotive repair facility in the southeast, the museum interprets all types of transportation history including railroading, automotive and aviation. The 60-acre site is filled with immersive experiences.
The four exhibit buildings representing the remaining structures of historic Spencer Shops include the Barber Junction Depot, with a gift shop and museum offices; the Master Mechanic's Office, featuring locomotive displays; the Bob Julian Roundhouse with 37 stalls, the largest roundhouse in North America; and the Back Shop, a massive 90,000 square foot building that includes railroad exhibits, a full-size replica Wright Flyer, antique automobiles, fire trucks, and aviation vehicles and exhibits.
A new exhibit, Cumberland County Goes to War, features artifacts, pictures and documents highlighting the importance of rail travel in the lives of Cumberland County residents as well as the county's involvement in the American Civil War. This is the first time that this information has been gathered and displayed in one location.
Other exhibits at the museum include the Back Shop, the N&W Combine car, and the Doris, a private rail car built by James B. Duke for American Tobacco and named after his daughter. The museum also maintains a collection of artifacts related to railroading and transportation, including the oldest passenger train bell in the world.
The museum hosts a wide variety of annual events, including Day Out with Thomas, the Polar Express, and the Harvest Festival. The facility is also home to the Boy Scout Rail Camp, the largest railroad related scouting event in the nation.