Sight, the workhorse of the five senses, puts in too many hours keeping man from falling in manholes. Reward the most overworked sense with today's Groupon to the O. Winston Link Museum. Choose between two options:
- For $5, you get two admissions (up to a $10 value).
- For $7, you get one photography workshop (a $25 value).
Opened in 2004, the O. Winston Link Museum displays the works of railroad photographer O. Winston Link, who captured more than 2,400 images of the Norfolk & Western Railway—the last large steam-powered American railroad—during the late 1950s. The museum's collection gathers seven galleries of these images, along with sound recordings and a documentary film, What a Picture I Got, to not only share Link's beautiful art, but to also give an insight into history, travel, and the non-sauna benefits of steam. Those seeking to scratch educational itches can opt for any of the museum's workshops, detailing such topics as rail history, Link's lighting equipment, and the socio-political context of the Norfolk & Western Railway.
Frommer's ranks the O. Winston Link Museum as exceptional, giving it a perfect three stars. It has been featured in the Roanoke Free Press, and has more than 1,400 likes on Facebook. Five TripAdvisors give it an average of four owl eyes, ranking it as the second best attraction in Roanoke.
- …One of the most fascinating museums in Virginia and the best railway museum I've ever seen. It's a must-see for railroad buffs -- and everyone else with an interest in photography. – Frommer's
- If you have any interest in trains, steam locomotives in particular, you won't want to miss this exhibit. – kingfather, TripAdvisor
O. Winston Link Museum
While stationed on Long Island to conduct secret war research for the U.S. government during World War II, O. Winston Link started snapping photographs of the Long Island Railroad tracks behind his lab. Eager to capture large-scale railroad pictures at night, he built his own customized flash equipment. After the war, Link harnessed that creative curiosity by spending five years photographing the Norfolk and Western Railway, the last large steam-powered American railroad. From his 20 trips to the railway's tracks in four states, Link collected 2,400 pictures.
His work didn't garner attention until the 1980s, when he published his first collection of railroad photos in the lauded book Steam, Steel & Stars. The West Virginia Historical Society continues to preserve his legacy with the O. Winston Link Museum, which showcases Link's Norfolk and Western project while filling in its historical context. Throughout seven galleries, patrons hear the sounds of bustling locomotive engines, adjust the lighting of an interactive diorama's photograph, and ogle Link's original photographic equipment, including flashbulbs, power boxes, and super power boxes. The museum underscores its edifying galleries with a plentitude of tours, workshops, and ongoing photography programs.