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 Post subject: Community Outreach Night at the Orange Empire Railway Museum
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:12 am
Posts: 10
I thought this might be of interest to some volunteers at other museums, so I thought I'd share it.

Every year, the Orange Empire Railway Museum, located in Perris, California, holds Trains to Santa's Workshop. For the event, we convert one of our car barns to look like the "North Pole." Families board our trains at the mainline platform to take the train to visit Santa Claus at the North Pole. The Trains to Santa’s Workshop ordinarily run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for three weekends in December.

On Thursday, December 8th, the museum hosted a special extra night of Trains to Santa’s Workshop. No tickets were sold for this night. Instead, the museum worked with the Perris public schools and the Perris Head Start program to distribute free tickets to disadvantaged children and their families. We had 122 children and adults visiting the North Pole, and they seemed to have a great time.

I'd like to thank all of the operators, museum volunteers and their friends and family, and students and educators who made the cookies, prepared for the event, drove the trains, and helped our visitors to have a great time.

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Dan Parks
Orange Empire Railway Museum Steam Crew


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 Post subject: Re: Community Outreach Night at the Orange Empire Railway Mu
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 726
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Sounds like a great event. Community outreach is essential to museums of every type. Does OERM do vocational outreach with the local high school vocational education programs?

Here in Tucson, Old Pueblo Trolley works with the Pima County Joint Educational Training Division and local high school auto shop programs to provide additional training opportunities for the students. In the summertime, we hire students through a county internship program that we are eligible to obtain funding through. The net result? The students get to earn money working through the summer and get to develop their skills. We get more work done and get to build on our relationship with the county school system.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: Community Outreach Night at the Orange Empire Railway Mu
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:12 am
Posts: 10
Thanks! OERM doesn't do vocational training, but your program sounds like a very productive one. How long have you been doing it? Do you receive funding to cover the cost of materials for your restoration projects, or does the funding cover the students' wages only?

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Dan Parks
Orange Empire Railway Museum Steam Crew


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 Post subject: Re: Community Outreach Night at the Orange Empire Railway Mu
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:05 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 726
Location: Tucson, Arizona
We have been doing the paid internships a couple of years now. We have four volunteers who oversee the program. One is our President, who is a retired Civil engineer and the other two retirees are retired auto shop instructors. The fourth volunteer is on the Board of Directors for the county Joint Technical Education Division and runs his own vintage auto restoration shop (British motorcars). He's also a licensed auto dealer, so that helps when we get vehicles donated.

From what I understand, we have only used the county funding to pay the wages of the student interns. All of the projects that we have used the interns for had the other costs covered from our restoration budget. We are fortunate in that many of our projects are eligible for historic preservation grants-all of the streetcars unfortunately being excepted. Out of necessity, all of our streetcars were acquired from other sources around the country. Almost all of our buses (with the exception of one from Modesto, California) have documented Arizona service histories, which makes them eligible for historic preservation grant funding. The biggest project we have going is our 1928 Twin Coach, which has so far required rebuilding both motors and extensive replacement of the plymetal paneling. We are probably about 35% through the restoration and to date, have put more than $100,000 into that one vehicle. That was paid for by grant funding and we are currently working to obtain additional funding to complete the work.

For us (as well as most other museums), labor availability is a key concern. At best, we have several volunteers who work on a semi-regular basis on our buses. We have several others who work on the streetcars. Work at the car house is done two or three days a week most of the time. Work at the bus shop is done six days a week most weeks, though we occasionally work on Sundays when conditions require. Usually, Sunday is reserved for painting work. Having extra hands available makes the work go faster-sometimes much faster. It also creates the possibility of new volunteers in the future. In turn, that means that we have to come up with additional projects to keep the volunteers busy. We have a 1946 Ford Transit Bus that served Tucson Rapid Transit Company. The bus was a "project" that we worked on when we had extra time-it wasn't a priority as we didn't have the labor to work on it as well as the primary projects. With the interns, we had extra labor and now the bus is cosmetically restored. It runs, but will need a new floor and the interior restoration completed.

Why is restoring the buses so essential to our mission? Having the buses restored allows us to reach people in the community that might not otherwise visit the museum facilities or ride the streetcar downtown. We take the restored buses to community events, specifically the car shows around the region. The buses generate a lot of interest wherever they go-partly because of their age and partly because these are buses that operated in the community.

Getting back to vocational training, we are currently looking at some programs that are being piloted in Maricopa County with the community colleges and if they prove successful, we may attempt to add those to the program here. That said, our main focus is to pass on the necessary skills to the next generations so that they have the ability to earn a decent living and maintain the collection that we will pass on to them.

I should also point out that the students that participated in our first year program all got their OSHA forklift operator certification.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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