California State Railroad Museum Foundation (CSRMF)

The California State Railroad Museum Foundation (CSRMF) is an official cooperating association with California State Parks and a 501 (3) c organization. CSRMF provides funding for ongoing support of numerous programs at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown. CSRMF was founded in 1987 from the merger of two earlier museum-support organizations dating back to 1981.

The Foundation has been a successful cooperating association of California State Parks for more than 39 years, and the museum has recently become a Smithsonian Affiliate. In the 1970s, several people - who later became founding CSRMF board members - were involved as early visionaries. Working together with then-Governor Ronald Reagan and the California Legislature, they secured funding to build the California State Railroad Museum and helped transform Old Sacramento into a historic district. They were instrumental in saving and donating significant historic railroad locomotives and cars which now serve as the core of the Museum's collection.

The Foundation has been an important and vital nonprofit partner to State Parks, managing and/or providing funds for:
- Old Sacramento State Historic Park and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park; marketing
- Supporting more than 500 active volunteers and docents
- Managing the membership program which now serves more than 12,000 members
- Developing and operating the Museum and Museum Store; providing excursion trains for school children and visitors
- Maintaining and repairing railroad equipment, track, and signals
- Restoring historic railroad equipment, including rail cars and steam engines for excursion train rides
- Offering the popular Polar Express™ special event experience in Old Sacramento and Jamestown during the holidays to the delight of more than 25,000 family members annually
- Seeking and securing grants and donations for special projects
- Establishing and managing endowment funds to support exhibits, collections, and raising funds for the development of the Railyards
- Being a strong and vocal advocate for State Parks


The mission of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation is to generate revenue and awareness on behalf of its destinations, while supporting the preservation, interpretation and promotion of our railroad heritage.


As we raise 1.5 million dollars to execute the continued Campaign of Revitalization and Restoration, we will carefully preserve the historical portrayal of the railroad while deepening the connection to the cultures involved in the formation of the western railroads.

All Big Day of Giving donations will help continue to support the new and evolving STEAM Alive, Powered by You exhibit, that provides children of all ages an engaging, hands-on play experience with imaginative and innovative exhibits and programs. Additionally, your generosity will allow us to create these exciting and compelling new spaces in the museum:

• Permanent Exhibits for Latinx, Native American and Black workers and their involvement in the railroads

• The renovation of the California State Railroad Museum's main lobby to enhance the visitors experience

• A new interpretive program in the Central Pacific Passenger Station

The California State Railroad Museum seeks to be of, for and about community and these new assets will support our goal of Honoring the Past and Inspiring the Future. Expanding the relevance of the museum experience with exciting and interactive, new exhibits that will provide a deeper understanding and connection to the railroad stories that shaped our lives.

The California State Railroad Foundation supports numerous ongoing programs at the California State Railroad Museum and Railtown 1897, including but not limited to: educational school programs, excursion train rides, management of an extensive membership program, and special events. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, our educational department is creating virtual education or distance learning programs for classrooms to experience. Teachers and students alike are receiving them well.

All donations will be used to re-envision, update, and restore exhibits, engines, and cars. As well as funding ongoing maintenance of locomotives, cars, and tracks. With these donations we can develop a plan to move and store the museum's extensive archives and collections in an environment with the capacity to store and preserve recorded archives.

Both the California State Railroad Museum and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park rely heavily on volunteers. Volunteers are essential to keeping the visitors engaged and informed about history. They are needed at all levels of operation, their tasks and projects range from greeting and engaging with visitors in the museum, restoring and maintaining train equipment and tracks, and assisting in the operations of special events such as THE POLAR EXPRESS™ and regular train rides. In order to maximize our volunteer outreach, we will implement a strategy that includes printed material, social media campaigns, paid social ads, and an alteration to the current volunteer training program.

The core of both of our destinations is formed by preserving and sharing the history of western railroading. The donation of artifacts, individual's expertise, and interest to connect visitors to these destinations have been leading the success of these destinations over the years. The California State Railroad Museum and Railtown 1897 continue to accept donation inquiries to their archives and collections and hope to reach out and connect with more groups interested in preserving and sharing railroad history.

Organization Data


Organization name

California State Railroad Museum Foundation (CSRMF)

other names


Tax id (EIN)


Mission Category

Arts & Culture

Operating Budget

$1,000,001-$5 million

Organization Need

Funding: Other, Funding: Program, Funding: Unrestricted, In-Kind Donations, Volunteers


111 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814



Social Media 0

How can we help?

Suggested articles

  • How does my nonprofit get started on Mightycause?
  • Why use Mightycause?
  • What is Mightycause?