Welcome to the Executive Director’s updates for October, 2018. For those of you who keep track, October 3 is my service anniversary date at the museum. I’m proud of all that we have accomplished over the last 20 years and I’m looking forward to accomplishing even more in the future.
September has been a terrific month around the museum. We’ve had a successful month of fundraising, we’ve had multiple projects make progress and we’ve held several events. Planning is well under way for projects and events into the Christmas season and 2019 is just around the corner.
The Smithsonian Magazine-sponsored “Museum Day” on Sept 22 had a terrific turnout and was widely acclaimed. We had over 1300 visitors and we were pleased with how smoothly the day went. We are continuing to evaluate ways to improve the admission/ticketing experience as we recognize that the time standing in line is time you are not having fun. Following that, we held the first of our two weekends with visiting steam engine “Mack” (Jeddo Coal #85) from the stable of the Gramling family. The morning “steam up” photo session went well and the day progressed to hosting a lot of excited visitors and the smell of coal smoke & steam.
We made significant progress in fundraising to match the Hudgens Family Foundation challenge issued in March. As you’ll recall, we were challenged to raise $50,000 with the foundation committing to match it. As of the end of October, I am pleased to report we’ve raised over $59,000 and the Hudgen’s Foundation has released their matching funds. We are working to schedule the track contractor in hopes that we can complete the outdoor portion of the work before winter arrives. Fundraising going forward will begin being dedicated to other priority projects; please see our donation page for more details.
Other projects made progress as well. The new siding for building 3 has arrived and we’re working to schedule our contractor to install that, inspect and torque crane mounts and then we’ll be re-installing the rebuilt motors on the bridge crane. While “Mack” is pulling the train, the shop crew is taking the time to do some preventive maintenance on SRM 3 (our routine daily train power). The Western Union rail car project has also continued at a brisk pace with the goal of finishing paint work before it’s too cold to paint. Our lawn shed doors got rebuilt/replaced as the original ones were failing.
Looking forward, Thursday, October 4 we will host our annual Home School event. The we hold the second weekend with Jeddo Coal #85 “Mack”. This weekend will feature an evening photography event as well as a reunion of current & former museum volunteers who were part of the team that relocated the museum in 1998. Following “Mack” exiting, we’ve got our Second Thursday preschool program on the 11th, a Boy Scout Merit badge clinic on the 13th, and then we’ll start gearing up for our annual Train-or-Treat event coming up Oct 27.
Wow… what a month we’ve planned… and just to think November and December are equally busy. In addition to events, there are projects all over the museum, photography projects, website refresh projects, landscaping to winterize, HO Layout work, budgets to draft and the various restoration projects underway. We couldn’t do all we do without your support both in financial support and in morale/encouragement/appreciation. The smiles on our visitors’ faces, especially the younger ones, makes all our efforts worthwhile. I hope we’ll see you at the museum for a visit soon.
About Randy: Randy Pirkle is our museum administrator (and acting Executive Director) and has been balancing volunteering at the museum with a ‘day’ job at Macy’s Technology since 1998. The best way to reach Randy is via email.