Renovations underway at Nevada State Railroad Museum

Work has commenced on the roof of the Jacobsen Interpretive Center at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City.

Work has commenced on the roof of the Jacobsen Interpretive Center at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City. Photo by Scott Neuffer.

Monday morning, the Nevada State Railroad Museum in downtown Carson City was open for visitors while signs of ongoing construction were present: a ladder standing outside to the roof of the Jacobsen Interpretive Center, HVAC equipment cordoned off inside the building beside the train exhibits.

“The public has been very understanding, and this has been an opportunity for them to see some things that we normally wouldn’t do,” said Museum Director Dan Thielen. “For instance, we often need to make room inside so that the contractors can work overhead. That means we’ve had more equipment outside in the sun than we would normally do on a given day. And the artifacts of the Nevada State Railroad Museum absolutely shine when they’re outside. It’s been a wonderful way to handle visiting public while the construction crews are using the interior.”

Thielen and staff are navigating the challenge of keeping the museum open and accessible to the public while the facility undergoes nearly $2 million in renovations. Construction is expected to wrap up next spring.

“The state of Nevada has appropriated about $2 million on renovations to the Jacobsen Interpretive Center and other buildings on the 13-acre property of the Nevada State Railroad Museum,” Thielen said.

The renovations include new roofing, some siding and HVAC upgrades.

“The re-roofing project also includes an exterior wall rebuild on the west wall of the Jacobsen Interpretive Center,” he said. “When originally constructed, it was anticipated that the building would connect with the annex. In anticipation of connecting the buildings, the west wall of the interpretive center was completed using T1-11 siding.”

Thielen said that siding survived “for as long as someone could expect it to.”

“So, the roofing project included replacement of this exterior siding to make sure the building envelope is tight and ready for the future,” he said. “We were able to replace the asphalt shingles on the roof with a standing seam metal roof. We look at this as a lifetime investment by the state of Nevada and its citizens to the Nevada State Railroad Museum. We are delighted with the fit and finish so far.”

The roofing of the annex and restoration shop are also being replaced, Thielen said.

“It’s a big project,” he said. “The HVAC renovation affects the interpretive center, the restoration shop and some of the other offices in the annex. The shop gets new heaters and some ventilation upgrades. The interpretive center will receive a new, highly efficient HVAC system, which will finally air condition the space in the interpretive center.”

The new system, Thielen said, will help stabilize the center’s interior environment for the comfort of visitors and the protection of the artifacts.

“Both projects are superintended by the Nevada State Public Works Division, specifically Andy Lutz and Ian Kono,” Thielen said. “We were fortunate to get Shaheen Beauchamp as the general contractor, and they are providing top-notch customer service and a product that we are absolutely delighted with. They understand the limitations of working with a museum and have been open to all of our concerns.”

“It is a first for SBB (Shaheen Beauchamp Builders), and we are pleased to be a part of it,” Mark Beauchamp of the Carson-based company told the Appeal.

In a separate press release, the company described the goal of the renovations.

“These renovations will bring visitors increased enjoyment at the museum and help maintain the life and health of the building,” reads the release.

The original museum opened in 1980 as the Virginia & Truckee Railroad Museum before becoming the state museum in 1985, according to the release.

Design for the project was completed by Paul Cavin Architecture.

More information on Shaheen Beauchamp can be found at

For information about the railroad museum, visit


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