The California State Railroad Museum and Foundation are proud to reintroduce an exhibit titled Crossing Lines: Women of the American Railroad that was originally ready for its public debut at the start of the pandemic.
Dating back to 1838 when women first started working in the railroad industry, some of the trailblazing women who challenged the system and who are showcased in the new Crossing Lines exhibit include Modesta Avila, Shirley Burman, Jennie Curtis, Olive Wetzel Dennis, Anna Judah, Leah Rosenfeld, Rosina Tucker, and the Railroadettes of World War II.
Museum visitors will discover the roles of women in railroading have changed over time. While women in railroading today are responsible for the same jobs as men, women in the railroad industry’s early days were more likely to be restaurant keepers, telegraph operators, station agents or Harvey Girls (gracious servers of “good character” that made travel more enjoyable, a popular role created by visionary entrepreneur Fred Harvey).
Rather than a traditional exhibit set in a contained space, the Crossing Lines exhibit is displayed and incorporated into various locations throughout the Museum to allow for greater interpretation about the various impacts of women in the workforce. The important new exhibit will remain on display permanently.