The Lehnis Railroad Museum is gearing up for an exciting month of July in which it will host an exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution and a three-day Model Railroad Camp.   

July kicked off a few days early when museum curator Beverly Norris visited the Adams Street Community Center on Thursday morning for the Brownwood Public Library’s weekly summer reading group event. Norris talked to area children about model trains, the history of the American railroad and upcoming museum events.   

Norris said the upcoming Smithsonian exhibit is called “I Want the Wide American Earth.” It will open this Saturday, July 1. “That is basically the story of the migration of Pacific-Asian peoples — the Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese — to America. One part of that story is the Chinese railroad workers … but this Smithsonian exhibit touches on many diverse cultures and how, when these people came to America, they changed America and America changed them.”   

“I Want the Wide American Earth” will be on display at the Lehnis Museum until Sept. 23. “It’s a great opportunity for people in the area to be able to see a Smithsonian exhibit,” Norris said. The Smithsonian Institution, according to its website, is the “world’s largest museum, education and research complex.”   

The museum will also soon open an exhibition about the traveling circus, which took off when the railroad made it possible for large caravans — and large animals — to travel quickly together. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed in May 2017 after 146 years on tour.   

Norris also talked about the Model Railroad Camp, which runs from July 19 to 21. It is designed primarily for children 10 and up and will run those days from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.   

The camp will be taught by historian Frank Hilton, and all attendees will take home their own handmade layout at the end of the week. Campers will learn about building model train scenery, track laying and design. The cost is $20 for all three sessions, and interested families can register at 325-643-6376.   

The Lehnis Railroad Museum is located at 700 E. Adams St. in Brownwood. It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.