Northwest Railway Museum Roundhouse

Snoqualmie, WA


The largest railroad museum in Washington State.

The Northwest Railway Museum was founded in 1957, and is currently the largest and most comprehensive railroad museum in Washington State. The project is a master plan of the existing campus to include a more effective train shed for exhibits, and a new turntable. The museum aims to be seamlessly nestled into the forest, offering a landscape of nature and utility to tell the stories of the working railroad and the importance of rail on the Pacific Northwest.



Boarding in downtown Snoqualmie, visitors disembark from the train at the museum after a ride through the forest, and advances down a nature path around the train shed via an intuitive wayfinding system. Visitors wind through the landscaped pathways bordered by forest and structure. Select artifiacts are viewable as a visual tease before the big reveal to the new campus. The stories begin.

Inspired by the growing popularity of art and sculpture parks around the country, embedded artifacts will dot the landcape and pathways throughout the outdoor experience for visitors. These moments and objects offer a discovery to the outdoor portion of the experience of the new campus and allow for a much broader collection of stories to be shared. There exist unique opportunities for interactivity with visitors to enhance their outdoor experience (picking up a railroad tie, demonstrations on site of railroad construction, pounding a spike, etc.).

The roundhouse is an experience of scale and proportion on all fronts. The scale of the trains is visible through the large expanse of glazing at the roundhouse face, the scale of the roundhouse structure, and the scale of nature as the powerful and unique backdrop to the entire experience. Once inside, the story of scale expands. Visitors experience the story and mission of the museum under multiple lenses. First, the vast quantity and detail of the massive donated collection of train cars that echo eras of museum and train history. Then, the up-close and personal face-to-face of those exact same locomotives at 1:1.


Angle of rotation from the Turntable: 12.5 degrees

Remaining / Original Roundhouses in North America: 200/3000

Number of 21st Century Roundhouses in Washington State: ZERO