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Photography Exhibition Opens in Museum’s Post Office Gallery

An exhibition of renowned photographer David Plowden’s photographs has opened at the Illinois Railway Museum (IRM). Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden was produced by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art (CRP&A) working with Plowden. More than 50 photographs trace the waning days of the steam locomotive era in the 1940s and 1950s and show the railroad’s presence in the ever-changing American landscape. The exhibition was unveiled during the Conversations 2024 CRP&A conference, on Friday, June 14th, with an opening ceremony held at IRM.

David Plowden was fascinated with steam power from an early age. He spent his childhood watching steamboats on the East River in New York City and traveling behind steam-powered passenger trains in New England. After earning a degree from Yale University, he spent a year as an assistant to the trainmaster on the Great Northern Railway before apprenticing with photographers O. Winston Link and Minor White. As a photographer, he bore witness to some of the final days of steam locomotive power on North American main line railroads.

Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden is an exhibition that has traveled across the country and been featured at such venues as the California State Railroad Museum, National Railroad Museum, and O. Winston Link Museum.  The exhibition runs through December 2024 and is located in IRM’s Post Office Gallery, which opened in 2022. Admission to the exhibition is free with museum general admission.

About the Center for Railroad Photography & Art:

The Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s mission is to preserve and present significant images of railroading. Since its founding in 1997, the member-supported organization has been passionately committed to telling railroading’s stories through imagery: interpreting the past creatively, connecting it to the present while looking to the future. The Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts and education organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, that collaborates with individuals and institutions to collect, preserve, and make widely available imagery that portrays the nearly 200-year history of railroads. For more information on the Center, visit www.railphoto-art.org and @railphotoart on most social media platforms.

About the Illinois Railway Museum:

The Illinois Railway Museum, a “Museum in Motion,” is the largest museum of its kind in the United States. The museum was founded in 1953 and is located 35 miles northwest of O’Hare in Union, McHenry County. It encompasses all aspects of railway history including steam and diesel locomotives, electric streetcars and elevated cars, and historic passenger and freight cars which are operated on the museum’s 150-acre site and 4.5-mile-long railroad. The museum, a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization, is owned and operated by volunteers and relies entirely on visitors and donors to fund its preservation efforts. For more information on exhibits at the Museum, visit www.irm.org/exhibits.