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 Post subject: B&O museum
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 1998 4:44 pm 

eric, great article on the B&O museum. it's been a long time since i've last been there. didn't realize that there's so much good stuff going on. however, is the museum taking any steps to stabilize the steam collection? when i saw it about 4-5 years ago, many pieces, including the pacific were looking a bit rough.<p>thanks, mike shirk<br>

 Post subject: Re: B&O museum
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 1998 5:49 pm 

Thanks, Mike.<p>I spent some time up at the Museum this past month doing reasearch for the article. I'd like to tell you otherwise, but no, the big steam stored outdoors is not in good shape.<p>Nearly all the outside engines were repainted in the mid-1980s by a contractor hired by the RR, which was still running the Museum. The contractor did the job in "house-painter" style, and the result now is a lot of badly faded, running and color-shifted paint. The "President Washington, 4-6-2 5300, was repainted at about the same time by the B&O Historical Society, who did a much beter job, but this engine also needs help again.<p>In fact, the steam is not the worst off: diesel 51 (the original E-unit) deteriorated so badly during its 10+ year stint outdoors that it has had to be moved to the carshop for indefininate indoor storage, pending thorough restoration which will probably involve the loss of more original fabric than should ever have been necessary.<p>That, said, it's not that the Museum doesn't care-- they do and they are worried about it. The biggest problem is money. Unlike CSRM, RMPa, or Spencer, the B&O Museum doesn't enjoy the financial stability which comes from state funding. CSX did set them up with a generous endowment in 1989, but the income from the endowment keeps the lights and heat on in the roundhouse, and not much more. Wisely, they haven't raided the principal.<p>So day to day operations, restoration, and everything else are funded out of admissions, train ride tickets, museum members fees, donations, catering (wanna rent the roundhouse? you can!) and all the other miscellaneous sources of income. Some years, it's really pretty tight.<p>Money to conserve the big steam outside must be weighed against necessary repairs to the 100+-year-old physical plant, money for interpretive programs, money for the operating program, and so on. To date, however, the budget and available manpower haven't been able to stretch to cover all these things plus repainting and conserving outdoor steam.<p>The Museum must spend money on keeping up the visitor experience first-- because that's where the revenue comes from. And even looking at the budget earmarked specifically for conservation and restoration, some of the outdoor steam is well down on the priority list compared to other needs. For example, there are many preserved Lima Kanawhas and Berks elsewhere, and even several preserved Reading T-1s-- so those engines will never be at the top of anyone's must-help-now list.<p>The diesels get the nod for restoration in part becuase 1. it's actually relatively cheap; 2. by operating the excursions, they bring in income; and 3. by operating they are a crucial part of the Museum's interpretive program and 4. they have a loyal and more importantly active following among the volunteers and museum members. And remember, the small restored operating diesel fleet is only a small part of the total diesel collection. There are other historic diesels in the same plight as the steamers.<p>I don't mean to be flip-- I say this more in sadness than anger-- but if you or anyone else wanted to start a "B&O Museum Steam Restoration Endowment" or even work group I'm sure the Museum would jump for joy.<br> <br>

 Post subject: Re: B&O museum
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 1998 4:58 am 

not to speak for the good folks at B&O, but when i got my most recent membership newsletter (a far superior product to that produced by most groups with regards to graphics, content and layout) they included a "most endangered" list and plea for funding to help save several pieces; i don't have the list with me but i believe it included 5-6 pieces with choices between steam and diesel; a good idea just waiting for others to steal! <br>

 Post subject: Re: B&O museum
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 1998 5:24 am 

That kind of targeted campaign is an excellent idea. I can't speak for the B&O Museum either--I'm no longer even an active volunteer there--but one concern might be cannibalizing other fundraising efforts.<p>The Museum's biggest current fundraising initiative, which I somehow failed to mention in the story, is the Carshop Capital Campaign. This will provide for the stabilization and finally full restoration of the 1869-1870 North and South Carshops. Not only are these buildings historic and irreplacable in their own right, but this is an example of "leveraged" fundraising, in that every dollar invested in the shops pays off manyfold in improved storage, restoration and conservation facilities for the long haul. <p>Yet another example of the difficult decisions which must be made: do you invest in conserving or at least repainting the big outdoor steamers when there is still no indoor place to put them (risking the same situation coming back in 10-15 years) or do you invest for the long haul, hoping the outdoor collection can hang in there for another decade while you work to put the facilities in place for long-term care?<br>

 Post subject: Re: B&O museum
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 1998 8:34 am 

Jim and Eric, you are both right. They have a "5 Most Endangered List." It includes B&O EA #51(the original streamlined diesel locomotive), B&O Q-3 2-8-2 #4500 (the original USRA locomotive), B&O P-7 4-6-2 #5300 (President Washington), a tunnel clearance car, and a wooden Russell snowplow. The Russell plow is in the roughest shape, but they all need help.<p>I think that the problem is that when people think of donating to "historic preservation" a bunch of rusty old trains just aren't sexy.<br>

 Post subject: outdoorsy or shelter or rust...take your pick
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 1998 11:55 am 

yes, there's got to be some effort toward buildings but i think there also should be some work toward rolling stock too; if you let some pieces go down hill too long, they really do become physically and financially tough to do;<br> i guess the longest range outlook for all of us must be how much can we afford to maintain that's not under a roof; when we did numerous pieces for the spencer roundhouse in 1996 and got them under a roof, it was amazing how the deterioration slowed on some pieces i'd thought were nearing the point of no return; now our problem is that the roundhouse is full and everytime we get another piece, it's either shuffle the deck inside the building or set 'em outside; doing roofs on a regular basis is key to this (i think TVRM may have some sort of organized program aimed at roof maintenance); eventually, i think you may see some places rotate inside and outside pieces to spread out the wear with especially valuable cars or engines kept indoors;<br> <br>

 Post subject: Re: outdoorsy or shelter or rust...take your pick
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 1998 1:19 pm 

Great Article. I once visited the B&O museum about 10-15 years ago. Its good to see progress being made. I realize the value of having the EA, the USRA MIke, The President Washington, the clearance car, and the Russell Plow outside were visitors can see them, but shouldn't they maybe stored under a roof somewhere (even if it's off museum grounds), be cocooned in plastic, or have a temporary shelter erected over them until a proper restoration can be completed or an permanent indoor facility can be constructed or rehabilitated. The USRA Mike and the EA are two pieces whose importance, in my opinion, rival most of the truly ancient relics which are located inside the roundhouse (i.e. the Grasshoppers, the 4-4-0, ect. ect.).<br>Great Job-this museum is a national treasure.<br>Paul K<br>

 Post subject: Re: outdoorsy or shelter or rust...take your pick
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 11:30 am 

When the museum was first opened in 1953, the EA was kept indoors, and was only a pair of generators away from being operational.<br> <br>Unfortunately, in the late 70's someone decided to create a complete passenger train in the museum's front yard, so #51 was moved outside, with no thought given to its future preservation. For the next 18 years it suffered the ravages of weather, and vandals, one of whom shot a whole through the engineer's winshield. The water ravages inflicted on this engine have been horrendous. I am a volunteer at the museum, and when I first started working there four years ago, I was shocked at the deterioration that had occurred. Unfortunately the passenger cars were in the same shape. I understand that earlier management refused to change the window seals for fear of destroying the historic integrity of the equipment. The two cars that suffered most were the 10-6 sleeper "Tygart", and the observation-lounge "Washington" that ran on the "Columbian."<br>The floor is the corridor of "Tygart" is completely rotted out in one area. Fortunlately, <br>#51 is now covered by a tarp to prevent further deterioration.<p>If any of you own any General Motors stock, or have good contacts in the upper ecelons of GM or EMD, I think this would be an excellent civic project for them to undertake. Restoring #51, the grand-daddy of all E units, would ensure the longevity (and hopefully future operation) of a priceless GM artifact.<br>

 Post subject: Re: outdoorsy or shelter or rust...take your pick
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 11:56 am 

One small correction: Actually, #51 is presently inside the North Carshop, located all the way in on Track 19. My understanding is that she will stay under roof for the forseeable future.<br>

 Post subject: B&O Museum Strategy Problems
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 1:28 pm 

As a newcomer to Baltimore preservation, I also have been an on-and-off member of the B&O Museum. My big problem with the place is its policy of "grab now, worry later".<br>While it is indeed noble to prevent the wanton or careless loss of potential preservation candidates on CSX or elsewhere (the WM GP35 that was cannibalized before preservationists got to it, despite "arrangements" to the contrary, was the catalyst for this), there seems to be no coherent effort to arrange for their future care and feeding. <p>I was part of a group that had the opportunity to trade redundant locomotive parts for the ex-B&O/DOT E8 then in the Midwest, take a tax write-off, and donate the loco to the B&O Museum. My superior examined the loco and came back with the verdict that it was such a hulk that the museum would end up hating our guts for dumping that albatross on them, and the deal fell through. (We knew all the bad points on E8s, as we were repairing the ex-NJTransit ones after their service on MARC.)<p>Lo and behold, the B&O Museum finds out about this loco and acquires it themselves. Look under the I-95 overpass over the RR yard near Caton Avenue, and you'll see it in the junk lineup of "diamonds in the rough." Isn't the EA enough? MARC retains two ex-BN locos ready to one day show the glory of that era, and MARC has readied a commisary car for future excursions. When is enough enough?<br>

 Post subject: saving EVERYTHING aint the way to go
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 4:34 pm 

the scotsman brings up a good point, which is that it's a heck of a lot easier to get stuff than it is is to fix it; at nctm, we've got the same problem--too many cars and engines and not enough $$$, willing hands or roofs to go around;<br> i think there has to be some tough decision making when an organization's collection grows beyond a certain "sustainable" level; in getting more stuff for nctm, the current rule of thumb has become 1. is it nc? 2. is it something people would come to see; if it's not something anybody would want to see, photograph it for the history books and go on! <br> LESS is MORE! <br>

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