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 Post subject: ALCO Heritage Exhibit opening Feb 15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
The ALCO Historical & Technical Society is excited to announce the grand opening (or re-opening if you wish) of the ALCO Heritage Exhibit at the Walter Elwood Museum in Amsterdam, NY on February 15 at 10:00 am. It will then be available for view during normal museum hours throughout the year. This is the result of over a year's worth of hard work to recover from the closing of the ALCO Heritage Museum in Schenectady and the financial strain that followed. Many of the exhibits are the same with a few changes and some new additions, including a new exhibit on the correlation between the Erie Canal and early area railroads, plus it's affect on ALCO's predecessor, the Schenectady Locomotive Works. This new exhibit was made possible through the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund. Come out and see us in our new home.

Despite the rumors and misinformation that has been spread around this forum and others, this organization is far from dead. 2014 promises to be a big year with several projects in the works with the opening of our exhibit at Elwood being the first to come to completion. Stop by our booth at the Amherst Model Railway Society's West Springfield train show this weekend to see what else we have been up to or check out our new Facebook page for more updates.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ALCO-Historical-Technical-Society/1398870880365740

http://ahts.org/

http://www.walterelwoodmuseum.org/

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Matt Giardino
ALCO Historical & Technical Society


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 Post subject: Re: ALCO Heritage Exhibit opening Feb 15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2440
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
traingeek8223 wrote:
Despite the rumors and misinformation that has been spread around this forum and others, this organization is far from dead. 2014 promises to be a big year with several projects in the works with the opening of our exhibit at Elwood being the first to come to completion.


So I can assume the group has put into place adequate financial controls, a business plan and other structure in place to avoid a repeat of the past?

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 Post subject: Re: ALCO Heritage Exhibit opening Feb 15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
Past problems stemmed mostly from over extension coupled with individuals presenting positions of authority, without actual authority, incurring debt on our behalf. Those people have been removed, by-laws amended, and venders notified of proper operating procedures.

Basically this group is entirely solvent without the burdens of $4300/month rent and people trying to use this organization to further their political or career agendas (as stupid as that sounds that people would try this with a grass roots, not-for-profit, it did happen).

All of these changes have been in place for over a year along with an operating budget that we strictly adhere too. Frankly I'm getting tired of having to defend the organization (I'm not lashing out at you wilkinsd, you just asked a question) simply because a few individuals that are no longer involved chose to perpetuate the idea that the group has failed.

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Matt Giardino
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 Post subject: Re: ALCO Heritage Exhibit opening Feb 15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2440
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
traingeek8223 wrote:
Frankly I'm getting tired of having to defend the organization (I'm not lashing out at you wilkinsd, you just asked a question) simply because a few individuals that are no longer involved chose to perpetuate the idea that the group has failed.


I understand, but your group has failed in the past. It's only reasonable that some people ask these questions. If your group has grown, matured and fixed the inherent problems that led to the failure in the past, what better way to deal with past failure than to be frank about it and make the needed changes? Honestly and results are the two best ways to engender donor and potential donor confidence.

Starting as a set of exhibits in an already operating museum makes a bunch more sense than starting your own museum with nearly $50k in yearly rent.

What ever happned to the ALCO FA cab your museum rescued?

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David M. Wilkins

"They Love Him for the Enemies He Has Made!"


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 Post subject: Re: ALCO Heritage Exhibit opening Feb 15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:56 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:20 pm
Posts: 209
traingeek8223 wrote:
Frankly I'm getting tired of having to defend the organization (I'm not lashing out at you wilkinsd, you just asked a question) simply because a few individuals that are no longer involved chose to perpetuate the idea that the group has failed.


Prove those who say the group has failed wrong...Your job as President is to do public relations which means that you do have to put up with nay-sayers. In the meantime you have a big job of fixing the groups bad reputation that has left a bad taste in many peoples mouth.
If you honestly can stand behind what you have said, time will prove you correct. Now you have to convince many of those who have seen the damage done that has been corrected once and for all. remember, actions speak louder than words...


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 Post subject: Re: ALCO Heritage Exhibit opening Feb 15
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:00 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1050
Location: Youngstown, OH
The museum that I built here in Youngstown is very similar to what the Alco museum would have been in both size and visitorship potential. I would say that $4,300 a month in rent would scare the crap out of me and give me a huge pit in my stomach. Those kind of costs could never be sustainable. With utilities and fixed costs they would be pushing about 5K or better a month just to open the doors. At a $5 admission charge and being open only Saturdays and Sundays (8 hours per week), the museum would have needed a minimum of 125 paying visitors each day they are open. Actually make that about 150 visitors as they were to be closed over the winter. Ummm, that is a LOT OF PEOPLE for a facility with limited appeal to the general public and located in an area that is not exactly a tourist magnet.

I realized with our facility that if I were to just opened the doors and wait for people to show up, we too would go bankrupt. So we realized that and emphasize open houses instead of regular open hours. We have two open houses a year which we promote, and have started talking about opening up during special events in Youngstown and offering shuttle bus service from those events to our facility three miles away. So during those times when there are thousands of people downtown we can get them out to our facility in a manner that is easy for them, and it is also easier for us to staff a handful of events than it is to find people on a day in day out basis. We also offer visits by appointment and during the summer we do have regularly scheduled volunteer days which are also considered open days.

There are several strategies for making a small museum work, but none of them involve "if we build it they will come". Think small. Take on no debt. Don't overextend yourselves. Rock solid stability is a requirement for an entity that proposes to preserve history "forever".

http://www.timesunion.com/entertainment ... php#page-2

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Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: ALCO Heritage Exhibit opening Feb 15
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
Hot Metal.
You are preaching to the choir brother. The only real reason we were in that situation in the first place is that we put our faith in a Museum Project Director that talked a big game but in actuality had no clue what he was doing. He kept promising to find the money to keep it going while at the same time racking up the debt. It then took a change to our by-laws (and running out of money) to actually get him to stop and remove him from the organization. Expensive lesson learned. Since that time we have gotten back to basics with a diverse, yet trusted core Board of Directors and put our faith, not in smoke & mirrors, but in hard work and wise financial decisions. In order to get out of debt we threw all budgets out the window and every dime spent went through the BOD. We also took a"spend no penny unless absolutely necessary" attitude calling on favors and near broken backs to get things done. I can happily say that it paid off sooner then I projected and we are out of debt (and sitting almost comfortably) and ready for the new year. Of course it would not be possible without the hard work of our volunteers and the gracious donations of our members and friends. Not to mention the generosity of the Walter Elwood Museum stepping in at our time of need. Moral of the story "Don't run before you can walk".

Quote:
Now you have to convince many of those who have seen the damage done that has been corrected once and for all


John.
We plan to and have been letting our actions speak for themselves. What I ask of the general public is that they disregard the uninformed rumors that are out there and see for themselves. Or better yet, if you have a question, ask me. We have nothing to hide. Just don't spout off some statement about being broke or having no members that "some guy" said at a train show or on the internet. That is how these things perpetuate. Some people will never choose to believe anything good because they are focused on the drama and refuse to let it go. We can't concern ourselves with those type of people and we just have to keep doing the right thing. I get testy though when I see the hard work our volunteers put in go un-noticed and un-appreciated because people that don't know run their mouths.

Quote:
What ever happened to the ALCO FA cab your museum rescued?


wilkinsed.
The FA cab is currently sitting next to my hobby shop (Milepost Hobbies, shameless plug) along with the 40 et 8 parade vehicle, only about five miles from the museum (also in Amsterdam). We have discussed moving it to Elwood for outside display but are concerned with potential tagging, plus the cost to move it again. I can absolutly see it going there eventually, once a sound plan is put in place. Until then it is safe here and even received a fresh coat of paint for protection and aesthetic reasons. The parade vehicle is another story and we are currently evaluating it for a restoration to operation. This will only be possible with a lot of donated time and labor, but we think we have found the right company to do it. More on this as it develops.

Any other questions about this organization? Please feel free to ask. I am happy to counter the rumors. Plus, I only bite when provoked ;)

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Matt Giardino
ALCO Historical & Technical Society


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