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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:18 am
Posts: 155
I wouldn't critique these guys too much. This seems like a very real possibility anymore with the smaller "Local" museums/groups these days. The operation to income ratio is very small if not negligible with many, who rely on the support of a small group of people.

Hopefully the equipment is placed up for sale or re-donation. Maybe another group can add to their collection or benefit from the closure of this Museum.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
The expression of reality isn't criticism. I don't doubt that the people involved did what they could for as long as they could do it and the fact that it isn't enough to build to a critical mass of attractability (for lack of a better word) is just fact. Certainly it was worth a try from their POV; what we could criticize are those of us who don't learn from this and other examples and build our strategies accordingly.

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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1483
Location: Southern California
Collection includes both a New Haven steel box car and a New Haven RDC.

The location is between the Battleship Cove with the Battleship Massachusetts and several other fleet ships and the Marine Museum at Fall River. But looking at Google Map street view the area is mostly industrial and while there are sidewalks and marked crosswalks it does not look like a pedestrian friendly area. And the curb appeal of the RR museum compared to Battleship Cove is a marked contrast.

Small volunteer supported museums of many, many kinds so often have a significant problem -- limited hours. How many community museums have you noticed that are open for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and maybe a couple of hours one or two weekdays during the month?

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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:34 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
PCook wrote:
A major interchange reconstruction project on I-195 right in downtown Fall River probably has not helped the situation for this museum or the neighboring Battleship USS MASSACHUSETTS. Visitors at the Battleship are reportedly down about 80% from what they were a few years ago.

This. This right here.

Hot Metal misrepresents its location. Let's zoom out just a tad.

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Look at the USS MASSACHUSETTS. Look at its parking lot. The walkway between is barely 200 feet away from the railway museum (and the walking routes one to the other are quite good).

Now look at the devastation. Not only is the practical eastbound freeway exit GONE... but most of the local connecting roads are completely closed. You can certainly see why the battleship's business is down 80%.

Given the geography, the only natural business strategy is for the museum to coattail on the battleship. It is Kourtney Kardashian, who does well only when Kim does.

The museum's fortunes are going to return when the battleship's does. The thing to do is hunker down and wait it out.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:04 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1047
Location: Youngstown, OH
Compared to the attraction of a battleship, four pieces of rail equipment will not generate enough interest to keep the doors open. Had the museum been home to one or two locally significant locomotives perhaps the story would be different. Locomotives have an appeal that rolling stock does not. Its still hard to compete against a battleship.

Maybe the stock of available volunteers are all volunteering on the battleship?

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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:25 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:17 am
Posts: 156
Location: New York
Here's a link to their facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/oldcolonyandFRrailroadMuseum

I only found out about this museum and its closing by browsing through the New England Railfan Forum on railroad.net. I used to live in the region, and I thought I knew every museum with a collection of equipment, but somehow, I missed this one.

Whoever is running their facebook page is not winning any fans. Visitors who are expressing shock at the closure announcement are also offering to help and are being turned away. What's more, browsing through their facebook page, you never see pictures of the trains, or happy visitors touring the museum.

I'm not trying to throw these hard-working volunteers under the bus, but when your museum consists of a collection of static displays, you have to work extra hard to get visitors to come in through the door. Your expenses are most likely lower than that of an operating museum, so the biggest things you have to worry about are promotion and keeping your grounds and equipment in good shape.

It sounds like a combination of misdirected promotion efforts and lack of volunteers are the root of the problem. Volunteers will leave if nothing ever changes. Visitors won't show up if nothing ever changes.

This Google street view dates from 2014:

https://goo.gl/maps/cougMkDpXoz

It looks like there is active rail nearby, and even though you're stuck under the highway, it looks like some effort has been put in to the site to increase its "curb appeal." It's a small collection of cars crammed into a very small space. Could you hire bands? Host events? Install more outdoor displays (track cars, signal garden, levers for kids to pull)?

I suspect the issues facing this museum collection are similar to other small non-operating museums around the country that struggle for volunteers, visitors, and relevance.

-otto-

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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:38 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:12 pm
Posts: 89
[quote="Hot Metal"] Had the museum been home to one or two locally significant locomotives perhaps the story would be different. Locomotives have an appeal that rolling stock does not. [/quote]

Whatever the merits of such a statement, it seems factually uninformed in this particular case.

In fact, the Budd RDC at the Old Colony & Fall River museum, New Haven 42 "Firestone" (the only-ever RDC to carry a name, as far as I am aware, after replacing the similarly-designated NH 26 about 1958) was so identified in recognition of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. plant at Fall River, a significant New Haven Railroad customer and source of local employment, with this car being assigned to the commuter run that served the plant.

It would, therefore, be hard to imagine a more "locally significant locomotive." Likewise, this museum's New Haven boxcar is an example of what actually moved the actual products of the actual factories that once characterized Fall River's economy.

Some may recall "The McRailroad Museum", Aarne Frobom's scathing critique published in Trains magazine years ago. Such a place typically has a Lackawanna MU car, a troop sleeper, a Chicago El car, a fireless steam locomotive, and various other unrelated and locally-irrelevant objects, along with a collection of brakeman's lanterns on display, but nowhere to be seen is there ever a passenger car or locomotive (an RDC is both!) that actually stopped at or ran through the town, or a boxcar displayed as an example of what the local railroad used to serve the local industry (as opposed to a generic boxcar that had been acquired because it was available for free donation).

Regardless of the reasons, inevitable or otherwise, that led to the unfortunate announced closing of the Old Colony & Fall River museum, the two objects mentioned are of unusually-relevant local historical significance.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1047
Location: Youngstown, OH
Go ahead, ask the average person what an RDC is.

This place does not have anything that is a real attraction. Splitting hairs about an RDC car being a locomotive because it has a sideways Detroit slung underneath of it is missing the point. The average person will see a passenger car with a bump. Probably will think its a dome car. Furthermore, when there is a REAL attraction across the street this museum is going to have to work doubly hard to be noticed.

Probably the most unique thing here is that sideways Detroit. If you are a motorhead.

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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 663
Location: MA
They were trying to get a locomotive for people to explore, in fact The F40PH Preservation Society was working with them to get an F40PH.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:18 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Posts: 13
I know when I was last there had to be 2009 they were donated an Alco s series guess it never came. I know they were also donated a former New York Central streamlined baggage car. What did the baggage car have to do with Fall River? It was part of a local McDonald's.
Mike
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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:28 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5253
Location: southeastern USA
OK, lots of things being thrown in here - are we saying that it's a lack of specific vision problem, or a failure to refuse opportunistic digressions that don't fit the mission (presuming the mission is narrowly that of Fall River railroading) or either proximity to another marginal attraction being either an opportunity or a problem? Confusing.....

I think it's simpler: whatever they are doing isn't attracting support. Therefore, do something else that is more likely to attract support. Must regions have free assistance available to help small nonprofits work through management and marketing considerations, but you have to seek it out and be willing to forget about your ingrained self definitions and look at things from a clean sheet.

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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:44 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
RCD wrote:
They were trying to get a locomotive for people to explore, in fact The F40PH Preservation Society was working with them to get an F40PH.

The question is, did the museum know that?


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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:47 pm 
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Location: MA
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
RCD wrote:
They were trying to get a locomotive for people to explore, in fact The F40PH Preservation Society was working with them to get an F40PH.

The question is, did the museum know that?

Well considering I had personealy talked to Mr. Chatterton (chief executive) in person and online and he gave his blessing to post the fact that we were working with the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad Museum on our Face Book page I would say they did know, in fact I was told in June they were going to shut down. Because of negitive responses I have gotten I diden't bother to post here that we were working with them. Also because I woulden't put it past some people on here to try and undermine me and my plans.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
RCD wrote:
Also because I woulden't put it past some people on here to try and undermine me and my plans.


Do you honestly think that? Ever since you mentioned on this forum that you wanted to try to preserve a F40PH, you have gotten a lot of advice and encouragement from people on this forum. A lot of it was excellent advice from people who have been involved in preservation for decades. I do not think anyone on this form is vindictive enough to undermine your plans. Whether you take the advice, or are resistant to it, is your choice, but do not ascribe a failure, a bump in the road, or a setback to the machinations of people on this forum trying to "get" you.

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 Post subject: Re: Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Closing?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 663
Location: MA
Unfortunately David there are some people on this site that I have delt with IRL and stuff that has gone on out of view.

But back on topic the problem at the Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum is one day you'll find that many other museums unfortunately lack of new volenteers and funding, just recentely they were trying to rase a little over $1,000 just to pay the bills.


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