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The world of model railroading and other hobbies

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Keep museum on track

I'm going to break from the usual purpose of this blog for this week.
As someone who never gets tired of looking at model railroads, I am somewhat distressed to hear that the Western Reserve Model Railroad Museum has fallen on hard times ... really hard times.
While I've only visited the museum a couple of times - mostly because of a busy work schedule - I have come to love the place.
Having read the articles in The News-Herald, I am truly disappointed in what I have learned.
A while back, the museum moved from their Tyler Blvd. location to a new home on Justin Way. They did so, in part, because they wanted to grow and expand and because corporate sponsors had pledged a sizeable sum of money - $200,000 to be exact - that would have helped the museum keep the trains rolling at least until it became self-sufficient.
The plan was to partner with other groups and bring in conventions and other events to help the museum raise money to cover operating costs.
The sponsors reportedly backed out of the deal, leaving the museum strapped for cash.
Now the museum is on the verge of being booted from their new home.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit trust, the museum relies solely on donations. There charge for admission though donations are welcomed. According to museum organizers, this helps make it an affordable destination for practically anyone.
Rick Montgomery, museum curator and board president, has said there is no way the museum can afford to move.
Mentor Economic Development Director Ronald M. Traub said the city certainly does not want to see the museum disappear.
The museum was established in 2004 and has since become the largest such museum in the United States with 16 different scales of model railroad on display and operating railroads in N, HO, ON3, S, O, O tin plate, O 2-rail, Standard, Lego, Brio and G scales.
There is no shortage of things to look at and no shortage of knowledge thanks to the volunteers who work there.
If you have been viewing this blog over the past couple of months and are still considering jumping into the hobby, take a little time and visit the museum. If you have questions, just ask. Anyone there will be more than happy to help you out.
Remember that brotherhood thing I wrote about a couple weeks back after attending the train show at Lakeland? The knowledge you can gain from these folks is absolutely priceless. Friendships can be built and new ideas for your own railroad are everywhere you look.
While you're there, please offer a donation, even if it's a couple bucks. They need all the help they can get to keep this local treasure in operation.
Winter hours at the museum are: Mon. - Thurs. 3 to 9 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Closed on Fridays
From Memorial Day thru Labor Day, it is open Tues. 3 to 9 p.m., Wed. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thurs. 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
I might be the eternal optimist, but I'm hoping someone comes forward with a sizeable sum of money to keep them going.
If I could, I'd do it myself. I can't provide the help that is needed so I'm hoping for the generosity of strangers in a matter to which I have no real ties except for a love of trains.

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