The Canby Depot Museum is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of the Canby area, especially through the lens of the railroad. The museum is housed in the Canby depot and consists of a visitor center, a research room and an exhibit room. The idea for a depot museum began in 1995, when local citizens purchased a collection of railroad items from former Porter depot agent Chris Motschenbacker. Five years later, in 2000, the group purchased the depot building and began restoration.
The visitor center is in the former waiting room of the depot. It contains a display of period photos chronicling the founding and development of Canby and the surrounding area. Recreational, shopping and lodging information is also available in the center.
The research room is in the former depot agent’s office. It houses a collection of over 100 years of Canby newspapers and other assorted publications recording the history of Canby and the surrounding area. Many of the publications were written by local citizens. Also in the research room are items donated by the family of Del Clark, the last depot agent to work at the Canby depot.
The exhibit room is in the former warehouse room. This room contains the collection of the museum’s historical items. One display follows the development of the railroad from the settling of the prairie to its final run. Other items highlight the role of agriculture and business in the development of Canby. A section of this room also houses one of the largest collections of military uniforms in the area.
Recently, a chainsaw carving of an 1888 railroad brake man was added in front of the building.
Each year, a breakfast is held outside the Depot during Canby’s Hat Daze, and a fundraiser dinner is held in November. Future plans include improving the museum’s exhibits and creating new ones, completing the outdoor signage, and landscaping.
The Depot is only open in the summer, from June to August. Hours and days will be determined in the spring as conditions allow. The current board consists of Al and Julie Saltee, Carol Gorder, Jeff Cooper and Todd and Monica Mitchell. If you are interested in volunteering at the museum please contact one of the board members. The depot is also open by appointment by contacting any of the board members.