Chinese Workers Exhibit

May, 2019 was the sesquicentennial of the completion of the first Transcontinental Railway. The Niles Canyon Railway, which preservers a portion of this historically significant railroad, sought to commemorate this anniversary with a number of special events and exhibits. In support of these efforts, AAA designed and built the installation for a temporary exhibit about the contributions of experiences of Chinese immigrants in building the railway.

The installation took place in the former freight house of Sunol’s 1884 railway depot. The building was improved with track lights, fans, and temporary accessibility measures.

The exhibit itself was displayed on a 24′ long Howe Truss that structurally references the original wood bridges built along the line through Niles Canyon by Chinese railway workers in the 1860s. AAA also developed and installed supporting exhibits explaining the place of the Niles Canyon Railway in the history of the Transcontinental Railway.

Randy (who will confess to being a railway history nerd) built the exhibit alongside the railway museum’s dedicated volunteers.

The exhibit and its creators were recognized by the California Preservation Foundation with a Preservation Design Award in 2019. AAA’s installation was featured prominently in the Foundation’s award materials.


  • Sunol, California


  • Temporary exhibit installation


  • 2019