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 Post subject: trades between railroad museum's
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 1998 2:55 am 

Great to hear about the trades between Steamtown and a New England area museum.<p>What will it take to complete more of these to bring rationalization of collections between railroad museum's?<p>IE - Bigboy in Wisconsin - doesn'y belong there - and - many more examples.<br>

 Post subject: Re: trades between railroad museum's
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 1998 5:03 am 

First, let me mention that I am involved with a museum that has concentrated on collecting and interpreting its home region. We have, in the last ten years, sent a CNW passenger car to a CNW-oriented museum, sold an E-unit that was not original to our region, and otherwise divested ourselves of stuff from other places that had been obtained in the past.<p>Regionalism is one of the most important core concepts in US railroad preservation, in my opinion. Unlike our progressive cousins in Great Britain (a country about the size of Penna.), no one rail museum in this country can cover everything; tell the entire story of US railroading.<p>What is the relevance of a PRR GG-1 in Texas ? or Illinois ? With a very nice museum in its home town of Scranton, dosen't a DL&W camelback belong there ? The visitor to a rail museum in a given region should see and have explained & interpreted the railroading that built and sustained THAT region. Are we trying to be real preservationists and historians, or just trying to create big model railroad clubs ? Ultimately, our support (political, financial, educational ) depends on us all becoming more real, more legitimate, more mainstream. (see Trains Magazine, Trains Turntable of Opinion, June 1974, for a piece call "No Respect") The "civilian" visitor IS our audience, not other railfans.<p>Is a whaling ship or Victorian mansion or a display of old china teacups more relevant to American history than railroading ? Right now, to much of the mainstream (read people with MONEY), they are. It's time to change that.<p>To answer the question (and get down off the soapbox), what will it take to make relevant trades and get stuff to where it belongs ??<p>Put the egos away, lock the hot-heads in a caboose for a while (so they can't disrupt the process), and use common sense. Minds are like parachutes-- they both work best when open.<p>Sorry for getting cranked up.<br>

 Post subject: Re: trades between railroad museum's
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 1998 7:57 am 

Here is my personal opinion:<p>It is understandable for a museum to acquire equipment that may not necessarilly fall within its geographical boundary due to the possibility of limited financial resources. Furthermore, a piece of equipment that is on the verge of being scrapped may only be feasibly saved by a museum that may be nowhere the piece(s) originally operated. These exceptions are fine and understandable. But in today's preservation world, there are museums that are reaching maturity-they have some spare change to play around with. These museums that fall within this catagory should consider swapping with other museums, even if the piece is a one-of-a-kind. What there should be, is a governing authority that pre-empts all museums (sort of like the DOT, or the AAR). It should be called something like to DOP (Department of Preservation). It's purpose would be to coordinate functions between museums. It would also set standards, lobby, and assist museums in anyway possible. It would consist of a board with representatives from a wide range of museums. This was typed quick so please excuse my poor grammar.<p>Gerry K.<br>

 Post subject: Re: trades between railroad museum's
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 1998 6:50 pm 

Ya gotta be kidding - another Big Brother? No thanks........<p>I have to agree with Howard about this one. And kudos to him for masterminding those sensible trades he mentioned. The old, tired excuse about accepting some piece from distant places because "otherwise it would have been scrapped" usually doesn't hold up under scrutiny - turns out the piece could have found a local home if the locals had been as politically / fiscally sophisticated as the distant bunch that grabbed whatever. <p>Howard's actions are the only justification for the save from scrapping attitude - a shortcut would be for the foreign organization to go between for the local one. Saves a lot of transportation charges. <p>Museum collections are not just for study and conservation. Many have equipment from many places for operation that is considered "expendable" to operate and allow preservation of the core collection. Swapping this stuff is an interesting area of contention. Your expendable locomotive might be my historic treasure. <p>ARM and TRAIN have made some real progress along the lines of providing guidelines for collections management, but unless we are willing to consider our collections with an open mind, and act accordingly, there will still be a LOT of junkyards out there......<p>Dave<p> <br>

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