The Museum of the American Railroad announced today it has received the largest single private gift in its history –a $300,000 donation from Amanda and Brint Ryan of Dallas. The gift will fund a new, permanent year-round model train exhibit that will be housed at the Discovery Center, which will include a $1 million model train set donated by the Sanders Family.

“Trains are an integral part of both United States history and Texas history. Frisco was established because it was a water stop along the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway,” said Brint Ryan. “It is important to Amanda and me to preserve a piece of American history and share it with future generations. We all have a connection to trains, whether to the lavish Pullman cars that once transported people across the state or cargo trains that my ancestors worked on or growing up in a town with a train station. The Sanders train set beautifully depicts each of these connections and shows how life once was. We are honored to be involved with this project, and we hope people enjoy it for years to come.” 

Earlier this year, Dallas resident Jane Sanders donated her late husband’s 2,500 square foot model train set to the Museum, so the public could enjoy the collection after his passing. In order to accept the gift, the Museum needed to raise the funds to physically move the massive set, and also to secure indoor space to display the model trains. Amanda and Brint Ryan’s donation will be used in part to disassemble, transport, and reassemble the collection. The Frisco Community Development Corporation voted to make more than 3,000 square feet of indoor space at the Discovery Center available to serve as a new home for the train set. The exhibit is set to open in time for Spring Break 2018.

“Thanks to Amanda and Brint’s generosity, this one-of-a-kind exhibit will be a prime visitor attraction in Frisco and be shared with families across North Texas and beyond,” said Bob LaPrelle, CEO of the Museum of the American Railroad. “When we first saw the set, we knew it was something we simply couldn’t refuse. There’s nothing else like it in Texas. The sheer size and originality of the display with its intricate detail sets it apart. There is a strong educational component to the trains as well. The exhibit demonstrates the technology and logistics of moving people and goods between communities by rail.”

Founded in 1962, the Museum of the American Railroad is a not-for-profit Texas corporation dedicated to celebrating the heritage and exploring the future of railroads through historic preservation, research and educational programming. The Museum moved to its current location in Frisco in 2012. The Museum collects artifacts and archival material from the railroad industry to exhibit and interpret their significance in American life and culture. Exhibits and general programs are provided year-round and educational programs are available to local schools and universities through study trips, in-class programming, outreach and online resources. Scheduled guided tours are available Thursdays through Saturdays. Please call 214-428-0101 or visit for more information.

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