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 Post subject: Re: Data Mining
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 620
Think Dave makes a good point to all organizations as a whole. If we are making history boring than that is on us. Many people find history boring. Think back to your junior high and HS teachers. If you were fortunate enough to have someone in your life make history enjoyable and interesting to learn you are lucky. So much is in the delivery. The form changes but form is not causal. Had a wonderful discussion with a religious education teacher who had three teenage sons at home. The teaching part was on how to get kids to retain what was learned in class. If they are not retaining anything it is on you to find a way to change it. In this case we both agreed it was making things interactive. As far as a single mom raising 3 teenage sons had more to do with standing your ground. If you are a member but do not participate in your organization do you really feel involved? Again the analogies are not directly relating to visitors but the form of holding peoples attention and "making the visit an experience". Obviously it does not need to involve circus entertainment {though there are days}. Static displays without interesting pictures or explanations are near worthless. The things people might remember better is the rusted or rotting hulks. Some of this can also be applied to how to get more membership participation.

At a recent planning committee we talked about the need for more signage for our displays with before and after pictures so folks get an idea on what the finished project looked like when we started. Some displays have this many do not. Not every volunteer is an out of the box tour guide, maybe some one who is good at it can critique or give some examples. I listen to some of the docents at our museum or other places I visit and the people are horrible at getting the facts straight because they themselves lack the knowledge or understanding of how things work. To many visitors it may not matter to much?

There must be a way we can share our passion with others without the sarcasm or dry delivery. I think back to why I stay involved. I have an equal amount of reasons to say screw it. But, I choose the passion that fuels my interests. It is not always history that makes me tick. Sometimes it is the joy of working with people who share a similar goal of being productive. Sometimes it is the passion of seeing something run or roll down the track again. History is often secondary for me. I am not sure I am alone in this thinking. I think one of the answers is learn how to communicate our passion in this museum type atmosphere. I love when someone shares their passion in what they really like. Had an artist once take me on a tour of her studio. She almost gushed with passion on her art and how much she loved it and what it meant to her. I have no interest in painting like she did. But the experience was wonderful. How can this be? I know I am a nut case and admit it freely. But for me it was the shared passion that made me appreciate what she did and who she was. Yes this is a personal example but remember we are trying to reach people. It seldom sticks if it doesn't some how get "personal". This is tied to "interactive experience". This also applies to getting membership participation, bringing more new blood into the volunteer pool. Wish I had answers that were easy to verify in how they would work. But if you look at what works you can continue or expand on it. To continue down a path that goes nowhere and does not work is nuts. I have tried the latter example and don't recommend it. The one thing I know it begins with the person and it is here {ourselves} where we all need to start.

Just thoughts. Regards, John.


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 Post subject: Re: Data Mining
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:17 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 455
Ah, Yelp reviews.

Here's one from an irate mom:
Quote:
... It's just plain unsafe for an attraction that bills itself toward children. Here are a few highlights:

1. We went with friends and the arm rests on all of our seats were worn down rusty holes that our children kept sticking their little hands into.
2. The paint is peeling off of everything--I'm sure a chip is ingested daily.
3. Our car smelled terrible--my four year old noticed this shortly after boarding. Who knows what mold spores are causing that.
4. Even the fifteen year old "host" warned everyone of how dangerous the windows can be. It was a fight to keep our kids from touching those.
5. Watch out for the platform of the "haunted" car! It's fully rusted out in spots, just little flecks of corroded metal hanging together by a few molecules. Disaster waiting to happen.

And that's just to name a few.
...

And one from an irate dad:
Quote:
... We sat in the last car which ended up being a huge mistake not knowing that on the return trip the locomotive would move to the front of our car. The entire return trip was parents holding their kids ears while they cried from the constant train horn.
...


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 Post subject: Re: Data Mining
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:37 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:18 pm
Posts: 64
rock island lines wrote:
Ah, Yelp reviews... those anonymous nasty-grams that make small business owners want cry.

The one-star reviews of rail museums seem to be from folks with expectations set too high.

Here's one from an irate mom:
Quote:
... It's just plain unsafe for an attraction that bills itself toward children. Here are a few highlights:

1. We went with friends and the arm rests on all of our seats were worn down rusty holes that our children kept sticking their little hands into.
2. The paint is peeling off of everything--I'm sure a chip is ingested daily.
3. Our car smelled terrible--my four year old noticed this shortly after boarding. Who knows what mold spores are causing that.
4. Even the fifteen year old "host" warned everyone of how dangerous the windows can be. It was a fight to keep our kids from touching those.
5. Watch out for the platform of the "haunted" car! It's fully rusted out in spots, just little flecks of corroded metal hanging together by a few molecules. Disaster waiting to happen.

And that's just to name a few.
...

And one from an irate dad:
Quote:
... We sat in the last car which ended up being a huge mistake not knowing that on the return trip the locomotive would move to the front of our car. The entire return trip was parents holding their kids ears while they cried from the constant train horn.
...


rock island lines --
Are you serious? How on earth can you say that people are expecting too much when they make the specific complaints you quoted from those two Yelp reviews? Are they stating facts when they wrote what they did? If so, why are you defending the use of cars that are clearly too shabby to expect anyone to ride in? Why is it OK to ever allow people to ride in a car that smells bad?

And why is OK to not even tell people with little kids ahead of time that the car they will ride in will be next to a loud locomotive for half of the trip? Don't you know that a lot of little kids are scared of things that make loud noises?

Look, I have kids, though they are grown now, but when they were young, my older son was also scared of loud locomotives, and that lasted for some years, and I understood that he couldn't help being scared, and never put him down for that, nor did I ever force him to spend any time up near the locomotive during any trips we took. He did grow out of his fear after a while, and has been a railfan the rest of his life, but not everyone will be able to overcome unpleasant experiences on trains when they were young.

But refusing to understand little kids and their legitimate needs is the very best way to make sure that very few people will be willing to spend their scarce time and money to ride our trains, in a world with a lot of other very interesting things competing for their scarce time and money, and is a great way to make sure that our wonderful hobby will die with us. Who do you think will want to be around trains after they grow up if they are subjected to bad experiences around trains, such as the ones recounted in those Yelp reviews you quoted, when they were young?

No one should ever run trains for the public to ride in if the cars are not in decent condition. Any RR museum that gets bad reviews should take a good, hard look at itself if any of those reviews state fats about things their museum did while running trains that should not have been done or should have been done better. It is not OK to refuse to listen to justified criticism fro the public.

And please be VERY careful who you allow to interact with the public. That teenage Car Host who was quoted in that Yelp review as telling passengers "how dangerous the windows can be" was way out of line in saying that, if the windows in his car were NOT "dangerous". If they were "dangerous", then that car should NOT have been used.

No tourist RR or RR museum should ever allow the public to ride in any cars that do not have FRA-approved glazing in every window, and all cars should be inspected to ensure they are safe to use and that everything in them works well. Yes, this is expensive, but bad publicity is even more costly, and lawsuits are extremely expensive, and can put a group out of business.

An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure. And with the internet, no one can afford to be careless about the condition of the equipment they operate or the people they allow to interact with the public.


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 Post subject: Re: Data Mining
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:49 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 455
Thanks, Margaret.

Good points. Yeah, I agree with you.

I reconsidered my comment about "expectations too high" and deleted it. But you had already started your reply, so I was too late.

Quite true that hearing in children is sensitive to higher sound levels.


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 Post subject: Re: Data Mining
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:05 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:18 pm
Posts: 64
rock island lines wrote:
Thanks, Margaret.

Good points. Yeah, I agree with you.

I reconsidered my comment about "expectations too high" and deleted it. But you had already started your reply, so I was too late.

Quite true that hearing in children is sensitive to higher sound levels.


rock island lines --
Thank you very much for admitting that what you said was wrong, and that you agree with me. I do appreciate the courage it took to say that you now agree with me, and that I made good points. I know from personal experience that it is all too easy to hit "Submit" or "Post", and once anything is posted, it is almost always much too late to delete it before someone has seen it and commented on it. I have posted things that I later thought about and deleted or apologized for, so, hey -- that is just part of being human.

If those Yelp reviews were not 100% made up, which I doubt, then whatever RR museum those folks visited has a lot that needs changing NOW, and they should NOT run those cars, or perhaps, they should not run at all, until they get their cars in acceptable condition for the public to ride in.

And none of us in this marvelous hobby can afford to do anything that scares little kids or makes them cry. Those little kids are our future.

Again, thank you for removing your comment, and for saying you agree with me and that I made good points. All I want is for everyone to be safe and have fun, both visitors and staff.


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 Post subject: Re: Data Mining
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:20 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:18 pm
Posts: 64
John Risley --
Thanks so much for the great post. Yes, we do need to share our passion for this wonderful hobby, and for anything else we love.

If I might, I have some sayings I learned form various people over the years that I think apply here, o the subject of how to get and keep support and members, even though these saying do not deal directly with how to best find out what we should do more of and less of to attract more visitors to our museums. (I hope it is OK to continue the thread drift!)

As a friend said long ago,"They came for the locomotive, but they stayed for the people." He was so right. At least for me, it was working with people who were fun to be with that kept me coming back month after month, working on a common goal we all enjoyed, and being treated well.

As another friend said, also long ago, "It has to be more fun than a picnic or people won't bother."

A minister at my church said, also long ago, when asking for Sunday School teachers, that if the church did not pass its message on to the younger generation, it would be dead in a generation. This applies to every single organization and group. We must find ways to get young people involved, so what we love will be preserved well into the future.

Another key to keeping people involved with any group is that is has to be a "we" and not a "me versus you" group. And "You have to check your ego at the door.."

Sharing our passion is very important, as is knowing how to communicate well with the public, and we all must be committed to high standards of safety and workmanship.


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