The Railroaders Memorial Museum is dedicated to revealing, interpreting, commemorating and celebrating the significant contributions of Railroaders and their families to American life and industry.
Altoona is one of the hubs of the area's growing tourist industry. Many significant cultural resources are within the city itself, and most of these resources are linked directly to the city's long history as a railroad center. Altoona is in a section of southwestern Pennsylvania that is home to a number of significant cultural and historic resources. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site, Staple Bend Tunnel (America's first railroad tunnel), and the historic iron furnace at Mt. Etna are all within 25 miles of Altoona.
For more than a century Altoona was one of the most important rail facilities in the United States. The city was home to the Altoona Pennsylvania Railroad's repair and maintenance shops, its locomotive construction facility, and its test department. Altoona's location at the foot of the Allegheny front and its proximity to the Horseshoe Curve route over the mountains made the city a key location in the Altoona Pennsylvania Railroad's operations.
The Altoona Pennsylvania Railroad's contribution to the nation's transportation infrastructure, and to production standardization, marks it as one of the most important contributors to America's industrial revolution. By the 1920s, the Altoona railroad works employed 15,000 workers, and by 1945 the Pennsylvania Railroad's facilities at Altoona had become the world's largest rail shop complex.