The Brown County Museum of History and the Lehnis Railroad Museum will celebrate International Museum Day this Saturday with free admission and activities for families.   

International Museum Day is observed in over 120 countries and 30,000 museums around the world, providing free admission and special events for guests. The theme for this year’s Museum Day is “Contested History.”   

In keeping with that theme, the Railroad Museum will display an exhibit about the Transcontinental Railroad, while the Museum of History will examine the Native American way of life and how the railroad changed it.   

Railroad Museum curator Beverly Norris said International Museum Day highlights the important work of museums around the world. “The purpose behind International Museum Day is to really celebrate what museums do in communities, and what they bring,” Norris said. “They bring a lot of our past history, and knowing what is in the past really gives you a clearer feeling of who you are.   

“What role will you play in history? I think it’s always good to look back so we can look forward with more focus,” she said.   

Norris said the Transcontinental Railroad is a symbol of both progress and tragedy, and thus a fitting subject for our times. “We juxtapose those. We’ll have quotes and information from both viewpoints, and it’s a thing that we still concentrate on today,” she said. “Even in the midst of good things, sometimes there are side effects that are not positive.”   

The Railroad Museum and Museum of History will both be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Mini-train rides will be available at the Railroad Museum for $2 apiece.   

International Museum Day will be the first in a string of events at the Lehnis Museum. On Tuesday, the museum will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new permanent “Working On the Railroad” exhibit, and the museum will host a Smithsonian exhibition in June.   

The Brown County Museum of History is located at 209 N. Broadway St., and the Lehnis Railroad Museum at 700 E. Adams St. in Brownwood.