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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents - Williamsburg Woes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:23 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2427
Location: Northern Illinois
p51 wrote:
...The cops were on him immediately. Thank god he didn't hurt anyone...


...And then he started showing up at railfan events in blue Dickey work clothes with Union Pacific patches sewn all over them.

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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents, what do they know?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1500
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Possibly the docent at the beginning of this topic with the comment about bearing types as the reason why steam engines weren't going to be run was only agreeing with his superiors and the officers of the organization, who must be pestered unmercifully by the public AND the rail fans about "when are you going to run that steam loco". (I confess that I'm one of those pests.) They had to think up some answer to shut us up.

A a museum I know well, the subject is open trolley cars. A current excuse is that we are a professional educational museum, we would lose our accreditation and standing if we catered to the popular whim and operated unusual cars just to please the public. We run mostly closed cars because that's what real trolley car companies mostly ran. If you want to ride an open trolley, you can go to the amusement park and ride the one that we rent to them.


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I had a doozy of an experience like this at a local operation, this weekend.
Some jackwagon volunteer started going on about orbs, demons and UFOs and nonsense like that. There was absolutely no segue between talking about this specific locomotive we were standing next to, and he was imparting some good information about the topic at hand (locomotives in their collection) that I didn't know and I still think was correct, to immediately talking about some really bizarre stuff.
They reallly shouldn't have him interacting with the public. When he started on about all wars are fought to feed demons, I told him I was former military and I draw the line at that, and walked away... Frankly, I was offended (and anyone who knows me know that is not an easy thing to accomplish).
I saw another passenger a few minutes later who was wearing a Vietnam veteran cap. I couldn't imagine what would have happened if he had launched into his lunacy with that guy. I think things could have gotten very ugly.

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Last edited by p51 on Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:26 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2226
You should go ahead and post your information on your site, no need to quote the "docent", if you have previous info, just do that, this engine is here and here and its condition presently and possible future, contact the museum really who/what etc you are and know.

I don't care , reveal the museum here, I want to know. If you have the knowledge about the engines, don't be embarrassed, let the guy know, he may tell his peers..hey this guy was here...

Friction bearings are exempt for a historical piece of equipment as far as I know, you run your own railroad, fine. The mainlines may be a slightly differrent story. The issue is CSX being stuck up. NKP 765 still has friction bearings on its trailing truck but they monitor its heat with a sensor. Changing an old engine to roller bearings might not actually be practical for its design. Keep it lubed, its all fine.


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 Post subject: Bad leading by head honcho's - Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:07 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 914
Hi,

I fully agree with Docents problems especially when they think they know everything and do not realize their comments may be reflecting both erroneous data and/or reflecting badly on the the organization.

Back about 2008-2010, the area I lived in was a part of unincorporated Dekalb County GA. The last train through left in 1921.

On of the section houses still remains. Dunwoody is now a up-scale suburban area.

The belief (right or wrong) that unincorporated Dunwoody was not getting any money back from the County (right or wrong) pushed a movement to incorporate.

The city of Dunwoody came into being about 2009. A fellow wanted to show support for the city, started the Chamber of Commerce in the old Roswell Railroad section house.

This individual was retired from the military. So he is used to giving orders and has self-confidence (right or wrong) that he can not make a mistake. I volunteered to help out (free). I brought my PRR kerosene lanterns and once wore my engineer's outfit for the Christmas parade.

I came in one day and found my lanterns outside the building standing on some Dunwoody Flier weekly newspapers. No respect to the lanterns or other railroad items I brought in (which the head guy wanted) for a "railroad" feel.

He wanted me to dress up all the time in my Mr. Conductor costume. He was a real devil to work for. He would not listen to "the truth" about my antiques and my costume.

I ended up leaving.

A story from the other side of the fence.

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2543
Location: S.F. Bay Area
There is no government "volunteer coordination service" where each volunteer goes to be evaluated and assigned to a charity. Railway museum volunteers self-select. As such, we tend to attract certain personality types. Among them is the socially maladjusted conspiracy theory spouting wing-nut, the frustrated Walter Mitty (and angry), lost souls and somewhat mentally ill.

Unfortunately we do not tend to attract what we need the most, cool headed people oriented managers who can groom, develop, and/or baby-sit those. At least those people don't want to be managers, and are inclined to abdicate to someone who wants it more. Sadly those tend to be the frustrated Walter Mittys who have never had responsiblity or managed people in their lives, whose skills mostly involve avoiding work, since their worldview is "labor vs management" and not "let's all work together to make this place successful".

dinwitty wrote:
Friction bearings are exempt for a historical piece of equipment as far as I know, you run your own railroad, fine. The mainlines may be a slightly differrent story. The issue is CSX being stuck up. NKP 765 still has friction bearings on its trailing truck but they monitor its heat with a sensor. Changing an old engine to roller bearings might not actually be practical for its design. Keep it lubed, its all fine.

The term "friction bearing" is Timken propaganda, a calculated insult.

PLAIN bearings are exactly what you want in heritage railway service. Any competent machinist can create a good bearing surface and any competent caster can make your babbitt bearings, regardless of a car's age. If you had a metric car from Europe, still no problem. Plain bearings are easy to inspect and give lots of advance notice of failure, and can be field repaired or at least limped home to the shop. Roller bearings have alignment/range of motion challenges, fail abruptly and require rare parts and specialty work that you must outsource. The reason to go to roller bearings is savings in oil.

You will never get away from plain bearings, they are used as traction motor support bearings and sometimes armature bearings.


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:19 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2226
always relevant...8-P


Thats what concerns me about roller bearings, as positive of a thing they are, inboard bearings on a steam engine failure would mean a full overhaul.
The friction bearing could survive the life of the engine, proof they are still on those engines.
They don't -need- to swap to rollers if they are going to rant they gotta change to rollers (and spend the million of bucks). Aside from that you need to find money to do anything like change to rollers start up your donation buckets and get the get going when you want to do something, start the rally, we're gonna restore this engine. Whining doesnt work when there are avenues to get the job done.


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:27 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 553
Location: Winters, TX
I'd like to thank P51 for bringing the thread back to life as it's as entertaining as the Great Quotes In Railroad History thread. It should be in the RYPN Wall of Fame.

Anyhows, gotta make sure my auto has roller bearings so I can drive it on the Interstate system.


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:34 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am
Posts: 245
At risk of hijacking this discussion....Has anyone ever thought about sharing info on the unstable people? you know, just a heads up...watch out for this guy...
Also, on the subject of Docents... Technology has improved to a point that most museums can probably offer a free "app"...or perhaps wireless service within their buildings that could include digital tour guides, etc...
This would reduce or even eliminate the problem and allow for more consistent distribution of information....the Docents could then be used to do other jobs, such as safety, tickets, etc...


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:08 pm
Posts: 255
Location: Western Railroad Museum - Rio Vista
Devices are made that will trigger a recording based on GPS location. They are sophisticated enough to recognize the direction they are travelling and accurate enough to give different messages on opposite sides of an intersection. So they can totally replace a docent talking in a PA system. They are used by some tour companies. Unfortunately prices begin about $2500.

When I was operating superintendent of a trolley museum, I suspended the operating privileges of one member because he continued to give incorrect information to visitors. As a museum we have an obligation to give correct information to the public. I made book on him and wrote warning letters with copies to the board of directors four times before suspending him.

In the blind item above about trolley museums operating open cars for the public, Shoreline Museum is in the process of repairing flood damage to one of the Yale Bowl open cars. Plans call for operation next year after conductors are trained to work safely on the running boards.


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 822
The display of the battleship USS IOWA has a smartphone app that one can download when they take the tour, and it is both a guide and more information than a ton of docents can give.

They do have a few docents to answer questions, but none of the loonies the railroad
museum genre seems to attract. IOW, they don't just make it up as they go.


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:36 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2543
Location: S.F. Bay Area
A lot of these organizations have developed procedures which naturally repel problem people. Volunteer for one and you'll see - they generally expect you to grovel through a couple of years being a docent, dressing in a silly uniform, telling people where the bathroom is, and sweeping floors. And especially, doing one of the many miserable jobs in the Thomas or Polar Express programs. (because those events are all-hands-on-deck, and ducking out of them is no way to climb the ladder.) Most problem people just aren't willing to commit to the grind, and if they are, their problems are quickly exposed.

On plain bearings there are no government regulations prohibiting those, however in practice, freight railroads do not like them. Not least, where on earth do they find journal oil? Call up the local museum?


Last edited by robertmacdowell on Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
robertmacdowell wrote:
A lot of these organizations have developed procedures which naturally repel problem people.


Mr. MacDowell is correct. I know of at least one traction museum that has a dual path of operations training. Not only do you have to prove proficiency and safety when operating the streetcars, but you are also trained to be a docent and interact with the public. You cannot operate without the docent training. It seems to have reduced a lot of problems. You aren't stuck at the end of the line with the operator ranting about the GM streetcar conspiracy.

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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:59 pm
Posts: 574
robertmacdowell wrote:
On roller bearings there are no government regulations prohibiting those, however in practice, freight railroads do not like them. Not least, where on earth do they find journal oil? Call up the local museum?

I think you meant plain bearings.

Journal oil is available through a good petroleum products jobber, the freight railroads' mechanical departments know how to get it.


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 Post subject: Re: Curb Your Docents
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9210
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
robertmacdowell wrote:
A lot of these organizations have developed procedures which naturally repel problem people. Volunteer for one and you'll see - they generally expect you to grovel through a couple of years being a docent, dressing in a silly uniform, telling people where the bathroom is, and sweeping floors. And especially, doing one of the many miserable jobs in the Thomas or Polar Express programs. (because those events are all-hands-on-deck, and ducking out of them is no way to climb the ladder.) Most problem people just aren't willing to commit to the grind, and if they are, their problems are quickly exposed.

Question:
What does said museum do when one of the local "walking encyclopedias," a stellar writer and photographer who has written many definitive articles or books on local rail subjects in his spare time, or a genius machinist or model craftsman or professional entertainer, finally retires from his career job and actually has some time to kill? Do you put him/her through that same grind for several years before letting him/her do something more authoritative like write up a new tour guide booklet, create programs/displays, start restoring that boxcar, etc.?

I see the need for "fairness" and proper training, especially for the local seniors just looking for a way to feel useful or teens looking for community service hours, but this also sounds a hell of a lot like that "old boys' club" syndrome that gets remarked on so often--the way young newcomers get "driven off" with "grunt rote work" and "boot camp."

Where does one draw the line?


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