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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 10:12 pm
Posts: 108
Location: Wadsworth, Ohio
I agree that many static museums could go a step further in bringing the locomotives and history alive, perhaps quite inexpensively. I help restore, operate, and maintain the ET&WNC restored section through the Doe River Gorge in Tennessee in my vacation time. We have an 8-ton Plymouth (in full ET&WNC paint scheme!) pulling two open passenger cars (ex-D&RG cut-down boxcars from 6 Flags Atlanta) on our 1.3 miles of 2% grade.

During several months of the year, the camp offers "A Journey Through Time" to the local schools. This involves hands-on displays, explanations of railroads tools and their use, and videos of the ET&WNC. While one group is enjoying that program, another is on the train.

For the train trips, an inexpensive sound system (powered by a car battery!) is hooked up to an Ipod (owned by an employee!) which is used to play certain tracks at each stop on the way up the hill and then again at different locations on the way back down. Camp employees play the roles as they act out various characters in the ET&WNC's past and present. These include a rapeller (who descends onto the train as it pauses at the exit of the first tunnel!), a soldier (once carried off to war by the train), a hiker, and a couple of characters from the earlier years of the ET&WNC, including an engineer (played by the engineer of the Plymouth when the train stops at the current end of the line).

As you can see, the cost is minimal, but it does involve stopping the train several times for the "performances". It has been well received, and teachers and students both get a lot out of the day at the camp.

If I can do it correctly, the link should appear below to the page with more information:

http://doerivergorge.com/journey/index.php

While it may not seem impressive or flashy, it has been giving many teachers and students a brief but exciting glimpse of one railroad's history, not to mention a trip through some of the most beautiful scenery east of the Mississippi! While static locomotives in a museum may be different, I agree that a simple sound system can do wonders to improve the atmosphere of the museum.

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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 1021
I remember taking my good friend, "Crackin' Jack" Haines, to visit Steamtown several years ago. Jack was a former PRR boilermaker apprentice and engineman, and when we walked into the roundhouse at the end of the day and found three live locomotives (3254, 2317 and 26) all receiving attention, he was thrilled. The sounds, the smells and the steam took him back to his days in the Pennsy's Harrisburg roundhouse. He had been Bernie O'Brien's guest in the cab of 2317 earlier in the day, which I thought would have been the high point of his visit, but on the way home, he talked of little else than those minutes in the roundhouse.


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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:42 am
Posts: 245
Location: Lancaster, PA
Wayne,

May I underscore the "smell" of a roundhouse? I specifically recall taking one of the tours of the Steamtown roundhouse. When we walked in the access door it hit me. It’s the combination of grease, soot, ashes...whatever. Absolutely wonderful! It makes me want to get the overalls on a grab a wrench! Women simply do not understand this.

I would underscore the gallery. For the rivet counter this is an abomination but for the general public, IMHO, I feel it’s a major win and it is something they did right. It gives a chance for them to get up close and personal with a locomotive and watch the crew while it does the servicing. It was very impressive to see the MILW 261 gently roll into her stall at the grand opening. When she came to a stop, you could almost touch the headlight visor.

I think Steve's idea is very good!

Regards,

Randy Musselman


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 Post subject: Re: A new perspective...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:54 am
Posts: 609
Expanding on Paul's earlier post in this string, I think I recall some months back there was a question posted on this forum asking what kind of education and training programs museums were providing for their staff and volunteers. If I recall correctly it got no responses at all.

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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:54 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5666
Location: southeastern USA
Randy Musselman wrote:
Wayne, May I underscore the "smell" of a roundhouse? I specifically recall taking one of the tours of the Steamtown roundhouse. When we walked in the access door it hit me. It’s the combination of grease, soot, ashes...whatever. Absolutely wonderful! It makes me want to get the overalls on a grab a wrench! Women simply do not understand this.


Smell should definitely be part of your interpretation. I have a very strong reaction today to smells that relate to events I experienced decades ago. Fine way to create an emotional response in your visitors.

Randy, you underestimate women. I spent an hour riding in the engine room of a coal fired steam ship with an elegantly dressed older British gentlewoman who loved the sight, smell and sound. Turns out her husband had a steamboat and died when its boiler exploded. She still loved steamboats, and the engine room reminded her of him. My wife, who isn't fond of dirt and smoke (but is a NP conductor's daughter) rode the Loop one day with a woman who reveled in the oil smoke from the locomotive, even thought she thought it was from coal. We have some fine and dedicated women who work in the , some of which who post on this list. Thankfully, the old stereotypes are falling away - we need to broaden our appeal.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:10 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:25 am
Posts: 1025
Reminds me of the time my wife and I were in North Vancouver BC to ride the Royal Hudson train. We went to the depot the night before to buy tickets and be sure of where to go the next day. As we left the station, I pointed down the track to the engine house, "That's where the Royal Hudson lives." To which she replied, "Let's go take a look!" We drove down and were invited in. One of the men asked "Would you like to look in the cab?" We both climbed up and admired the classic steamer, and my wife commented on how "clean and well-kept" it was. I should add that her father was a stationary engineer and millwright, and one of her uncles was a live-steam enthusiast.

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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:40 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1501
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Many years ago, the Branford Electric Rwy. Ass'n. set up a sound and light show in a display car barn inhabited by some of the well restored "Hanger Queens". The house and car lights, and the local speakers, were turned on and off in synchronization with the course of the narrator's story and sound effects. The sound and lights guided the visitors to each car that, in turn, illustrated a point in the recorded narration.
Both the visitors and managing members used the same words to express opposite views of the experience, "It's almost like Walt Disney World!" The show was quietly allowed to break down and never get fixed.


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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I just ran into this while looking for something else. I either missed it or forgot about it; in any case, it's worth a revisit.


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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:46 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 10:28 pm
Posts: 232
Randolph R. Ruiz wrote:
The personal music player idea is a good one. A lot of art museums produce audio tour podcast that visitors can download for free and listen to on their own ipods (or other players). I would be concerned about the average railroad museum's ability to produce quality audio tours. There is a lot of decent software out there (some of which comes with your computer, if you purchase a certain brand), but there is probably a bit more to producing a successful tour than easy to use software. Anyway, distribution is easy, and visitors bring their own audio devices. This is the future.



One of the more interesting audio tour ideas I've seen was at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. They had plenty of boards with writing for those that just wanted the basics, but you were also provided with portable mp3 player roughly the size of a tv remote on a lanyard when you entered. It had selectable tracks for each exhibit, with additional sub tracks if you wanted more in depth information. You could pause, rewind, replay or skip as needed. Seemed to work rather well, as everyone could go at their own pace and get everything from a five minute breeze through to a fairly in depth tour if you wanted to really spend some time and learn something.


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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
Years ago while working in Sacramento, I visited the Sierra one weekend. There was only 2 other people there: the gal selling tickets and a docent, an older gent who asked me if I'd like a tour of the roundhouse. I answered "yes" and he proceeded to give me the most interesting tour that I think I've ever had. He explained what went on from A to Z. I'm a civil engineer and love to dwell on obscure mechanical details. He knew them all.
I had been to the Sierra once before, maybe ten years earlier, and was not especially impressed. That friendly and knowledgeable docent changed my entire perspective.
Ned


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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:55 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 910
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Old Pueblo Trolley's Southern Arizona Transportation Museum is the current caretaker of Southern Pacific No. 1673, which is on permanent display at the passenger station in Tucson, Arizona. SATM has been working to replace missing items and has worked to create a sound system and special effects to bring a bit of life to the locomotive. The locomotive is located under cover and surrounded by a fifteen foot tall iron fence. The locomotive is accessible to the public during museum hours only and we have not had any incidents of theft or vandalism-pretty hard to pull off since the train station is in a high visibility area and the presence of security.

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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:10 pm
Posts: 145
I believe the modern way of audio talks at museums is to your smart phone. Now I think there is a business opportunity here. You would need a knowledge of railroads, modern electronics and wifi, a good voice, and the ability to write custom scripts ,record, and sell them and the equipment to museums. Of course an understanding that the museums have limited resources and the ability to taylor an affordable yet profitable system would be a must.
That all being said I think someone could start a part time business doing this.
Mike

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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:23 am
Posts: 455
Location: Strasburg, PA
This is a good discussion. Thank you, zugman, for bringing it up.

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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:47 pm 
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Bringing realistic sound effects to diesels on static display is now inexpensive and relatively easy through the availability of many quite accurate sound reproduction systems on model railroad locomotives. Just a matter of amplifying the output and positioning the speakers properly so the sound seems to originate from the right area.

I have had this for many years on a model railroad. When you power up the layout, several engines sitting at the servicing facility "start up" and "idle" at varying time intervals, independent of anything else that is going on.

PC

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 Post subject: Re: A new persepctive...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 582
Location: Byers, Colorado
Mr Zugmann,

I have also had the idea that we need to have a TV show about "Ice Railroad Railroading" or something similar. Too bad they didn't do something like that a few years ago on China's JiTong Tielu.

Oh Well... I had the idea, but nobody listens to me.

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