The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum is proud to bring an exciting new exhibit to Temple entitled: Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland.  This traveling exhibition from NEH on the Road will be on display from September 1st – October 20th. The exhibit explores America’s playground as a place and as an idea. Topics include Coney Island’s place in the American imagination, the historic rise of leisure activities, and Coney Island’s influence on amusement parks and popular culture throughout the country.


Coney Island, a strip of sand at the mouth of New York Harbor, began as a playground for the wealthy and eventually became an amusement and entertainment center for everyone. The exhibit brings to life the excitement of a trip to Coney Island with amusements like Steeplechase, Dreamland, Luna Park, House of Horrors, the World in Wax Musée, and Astroland. Coney Island was a place for fantastic encounters and amazing new inventions. Throughout the exhibition, artifacts display how the modern American mass-culture industry was born at Coney Island. Photographs, ephemera, film clips, and hands-on interactives immersed visitors in the experience of Coney Island.


The museum will also host a special Coney Island Family Day on September 1st from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Visitors will get a chance to see the exhibit free of charge during the event as well as participate in some fun family activities. Experience a trip to Coney Island with boardwalk games, a live fortune teller, crafts, and free snow cones and popcorn to help set the mood. The Daniel G. Benes Science Show, will be the special guest on hand with awesome demonstrations of physics, high-voltage electricity, and chemical magic using scientific antiques to show off turn-of-last-century inventions.


On Tuesday, September 11th, at 2:00 p.m., Tim Baldwin, editor of RollerCoaster! Magazine, will discuss the history of Coney Island and the rollercoasters that made it famous. Mr. Baldwin is also Communications Director of American Coaster Enthusiasts. His passion for amusement parks and rollercoasters has taken him around the globe to experience the greatest rides the world has to offer. He has ridden more than a thousand roller coasters and still considers the Coney Island Cyclone the benchmark to which all other wooden coasters should be measured.


Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland can be viewed with regular admission to the museum, Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and is part of the regular schedule of changing exhibits at the museum. The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum is located at 315 W. Avenue B in downtown Temple. For more information about the exhibit or the museum, please visit or call 254-298-5194.


This exhibition is made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is adapted from the traveling exhibition Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008 and organized by Robin Jaffee Frank, PH.D., former Chief Curator and Krieble Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Wadsworth Antheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. It was supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc. It was adapted and toured for NEH on the Road by Mid-America Arts Alliance.


About NEH on the Road

NEH on the Road (NEHOTR) is a fully funded initiative of the National Endowment for
the Humanities, designed to create wider national access to the ideas, themes, and stories explored in major grant-funded NEH exhibitions. Mid-America Arts Alliance has provided the curatorial adaptation, design, production, and tour management
of the NEHOTR program since 2002. Each exhibition is designed to fit within 2,000 square feet and features abundant artifacts, integrated didactic panels, banners, and other supporting materials that best reflect the content and scholarship of the original large-scale exhibitions. Learn more at


About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

About Mid-America Arts Alliance

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We achieve this primarily through our national traveling exhibition programs, innovative leadership development, and strategic grant making. We are especially committed to enriching the cultural life of historically underserved communities by providing high quality, meaningful, and accessible arts and culture programs and services. We believe in more art for more people. Additional information about M-AAA is available at

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