Illinois Railway Museum

Become an Illinois Railway Museum Volunteer

Illinois Railway Museum Volunteer Patch

The Illinois Railway Museum is a Museum of volunteers. Volunteers twist the wrenches, pull the throttles, punch the tickets, dispatch the trains, preserve and restore the equipment, and do the thousand and one other tasks needed to run our demonstration railroad.

A few Museum volunteers have worked for railroads; most have not. Some have skills such as woodworking, in upholstery restoration, or in other crafts, or as a machinist or mechanic; all of us learn on the job.

If you'd like to volunteer, or find out more about it, ask any of our volunteers. They can tell you about the Museum, and often introduce you to volunteers in the areas where you might be interested in working with us. You'll find the IRM Volunteer Handbook contains answers to many of your questions. Visit our Volunteers in Action pictures.

In addition to the operating crews, you'll find that many of our volunteers are at work in the several shops and barns on the property. The Diesel Shop is in Barn 2; the Electric Car Shop is in Barn 4, and the Steam Shop is behind Barn 9.

We need your help, your time, your energy, and your ideas, to keep our Museum in Motion, to preserve and operate our collection and to help our visitors make the very most of their visits.

What You Give

  • A few days each year, or several days each month
  • Sturdy work clothes and uniforms, appropriate for assigned duties
  • A dedication to safety at all times
  • Respect for the historical equipment, our Museum guests, and for your fellow workers
  • Reliability and dependability
  • Your skills and life experiences
  • Participation in training programs and qualification testing
  • Obeying Museum and railroad rules and regulations
  • A willingness to learn and work
  • Signing a liability waiver

What You Get

  • Sore muscles, soiled clothes
  • A chance to preserve railroad history and equipment
  • Participation in the decisions of priorities through your participation
  • To work with volunteers who bring with them the breadth of their experiences and knowledge
  • An opportunity to make the excitement of trains available to children, young and old
  • Satisfaction with a job well done
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • A learning and working environment
  • Necessary and often messy tasks
  • Many and varied challenges
  • An opportunity to become a Museum Regular Member

What You Can Do


  • Equipment Inspection and Maintenance
    • Diesel Locomotives
    • Steam Locomotives
    • Electric Cars
    • Passenger Cars
    • Freight Cars
    • Support Equipment
  • Cleaning
  • Sanding and painting


  • Guiding Group Tours
  • Constructing interpretive exhibits and displays
  • Speaking to groups
  • Writing and photography for our Museum publications
  • Rail and Wire Magazine
  • Librarians
  • Archivists


  • Wood working
  • Upholstery
  • Machine shop part fabrication
  • Welding
  • Mechanic
  • Electrical work
  • Cleaning
  • Repair
  • Sanding and Painting


  • Trainman and Car Host
  • Conductor
  • Electric Car Operator
  • Steam Locomotive Fireman
  • Steam Locomotive Engineer
  • Diesel Locomotive Engineer
  • Train Dispatcher
  • Station Agent
  • Track Crew
  • Signal Crew
  • Line Crew

Join with the Hundreds of Volunteers who make the Illinois Railway Museum A Museum in Motion... See the IRM Volunteer Handbook. Visit our Volunteers in Action pictures.

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Ticket Number: 164
Last Modified: 05/17/05 10:56:07 PM
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