Course Descriptions

train ride

This curriculum focuses on preparing students, regardless of their major field of study, to pursue a career in railway heritage preservation and tourism management. The can work at a museum or an excursion operation, for a restoration vendor or with a component of a larger, general interest facility. In every instance, the emphasis is on "best practices" and the connection between authentic heritage preservation and tourism as an economic development tool.

Four of the five required courses are offered every two years, with the fifth course, an internship, to be undertaken between the junior and senior year. Most electives are offered once every four years. The practicum can be offered annually, depending on demand, as can the study abroad opportunity.

Railway Heritage (Required): A chronological and thematic overview of the railroad industry in America, with special emphasis on the industry’s impact on the nation’s social and economic history, including the broad potential that heritage has for economic development through tourism.

Heritage Tourism (Required): Introduces heritage preservation and presentation, including museums, other attractions, hotels and restaurants, and tourism services, as a vehicle for both cultural appreciation and economic development.

Heritage Marketing (Required): Examines and applies the principles of marketing within the context of cultural and heritage tourism settings.

Heritage Preservation (Required): Topics include preservation planning, preservation economics, approaches to preservation, archival documentation and preservation technology.

The Railroad in Film (Elective): An interdisciplinary examination of the role of railroads in life and culture as portrayed in film, with emphasis on major studio feature films augmented by historical footage, cartoons, newsreels and entertainment shorts, all selected for their cinematic quality and their relevance to the role being examined by the feature film.

The Railroad in Art, Literature and Music (Elective): An examination of how railroads have influenced, and been portrayed in the creative arts, with examples drawn from fields as diverse as advertising, Broadway productions, propaganda, both literary and popular fiction, and three uniquely American musical forms - traditional, blues and jazz.

Railway Heritage Practicum (Elective): This course will take place at a different railway heritage facility, to be determined each time it is offered. It provides hands-on experience, with participating students being introduced to the qualities needed to operate a railway heritage site or to oversee the preservation of a railway heritage component (i.e., restoration work, exhibit construction, the launch of a marketing initiative, creating an operating schedule or similar).

Railway Heritage Internship (Required): Working with selected railway heritage tourism sites, this field experience will follow and comply with the established procedures and expectations of Davis & Elkins College. An emphasis will be place on finding internship situations that are compatible with the student's career aspirations and the requirements of his or her major field if it is not management.

Study Abroad (Elective): A three-week tour of selected railway heritage preservation sites in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to provide insights into what are regarded as the leading such preservation efforts worldwide.

Model Railroading in a Museum Setting (Elective): An overview of the hobby/industry and its history, hands-on experiences, and the educational and promotional importance of model railroads in telling railroading's story.