Making Tracks

April 2023


Welcome to Making Tracks, the official newsletter of the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads. Thank you for subscribing. This will provide you with the newest updates, offers, discounts, lots of information about model railroading, railroad history, stories, and educational articles.

President's Column

Museum President’s Monthly Article:

Let me begin by illustrating the type of articles I will write to inform the public about what the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads wants to achieve in the long run.  I’ll be writing a series of articles to reflect what the museum is about, how we began, where we're going, and how we intend to create an educational venue the public will enjoy. The following topics will help create an understanding of why the museum was developed:

·       How Project Endeavor came about

·       Why Project Endeavor moved from one to multiple layouts

·       What is the museum purpose and mission?

·       How do we plan to achieve our purpose and mission?

·       Importance of admission, membership, donation, and advertisement cost flow

·       The purpose of free school field trips

·       Youth in model railroading

How Project Endeavor Came About

I was a member of the Tidewater Modular Railroad Club (TMRC), which had a 4,000 square feet layout located in the Fairfield Shopping Mall in Virginia Beach, VA.  The HO scale layout remained in this mall for 10 years, and during that time we had approximately 22,684 patrons viewing the railroad display.  Additionally, during the life of the TMRC and with support from the Tidewater Division (MER/NMRA), we helped with creation of the Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA, assisted in conducting inventory on the donated O scale collection and providing help with layout construction.  Our members assisted in building the HO scale layout located within the CSX Train Depot, now called the Seaboard Station Museum, in Suffolk, VA where we are still providing layout maintain assistance today.  We coordinated with Virginia Beach, VA police and fire departments to construct two dioramas depicting specific locations within the city used as training aids should emergency situations occur at those locations. These dioramas were in use for many years.

Our members enjoyed model railroading discussions with the patrons and it was great having kindergarten children field trips from the local schools. We held many operating sessions on that TMRC HO scale layout to simulate real railroad operations.

However, in October 2019, new owners of the Fairfield Shopping Mall requested we leave. You must understand the previous owner was a model railroader and saw value in having us in the mall to help bring in patrons who would visit other shops in the area after viewing our railroad. So it was good for business.  Additionally, the owner was kind enough to permit us to stay rent and utility free during those ten years.

Having left our long-time home in Fairfield, and not knowing where to go, several members volunteered to begin the process of looking for a new location.  However, this was right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic which caused limited ability to shop around for a new location. After a year of searching with no luck, the committee began exploring other options. So, Project Endeavor was born to explore the development of a new facility to promote model railroading for all people of all ages and to include all the major scales.  For the next year and half the committee completed a business plan, by-laws, and articles of incorporation for the newly conceived Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads. We received our non-profit 501(c)3 and 509(a) status with the IRS in May 2022, allowing the museum to be tax-exempt and to be able to accept tax-deductible donations. (To be continued in the next issue).

Fred Humphrey, President

Interview with Jim Kellow, MMR and Phil Edholm of "New Tracks Modeling"

New Tracks

Several of our Board members recently had the opportunity to visit with Jim Kellow, MMR and Phil Edholm on "New Tracks Modeling", a live podcast that airs every Wednesday evening at 7pm Eastern Time. This is a great venue for learning about modeling from the experts, who give excellent presentations. You can ask them questions directly and even model your kit along with them so you can learn how to do it correctly.

We were pleased to be able to present our plans for the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads on the "New Tracks" show. You can watch the YouTube video here...

We were also happy to learn about the "New Tracks" scholarship program, which will provide a scholarship to students who pursue a STEAM  program in an institution of higher learning. Our Model Railroad Museum Board has decided to collaborate with them on this scholarship program, so that perhaps together we can make it grow faster than it would have otherwise. Stay tuned to see how this develops. In the meantime, both of our organizations will need lots of donations to make this happen. 

Developing a Support System for the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads

The Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads is just getting started, but it will soon become a beloved institution in the local community, showcasing the artistry and engineering of model train enthusiasts. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of railroading in Virginia, promoting the art and culture of model railroading, inspiring the next generation of model train enthusiasts, and promoting education of students of all ages utilizing the STEAM Program.

As a non-profit organization, the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads relies on the generosity of donors to continue its important work. Donating to the museum is a wonderful way to support the preservation of railroading history and to ensure that this unique art form is enjoyed by generations to come.

There are many ways to donate to the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads. You can make a one-time donation, or you can choose to become a sustaining member by making a monthly donation. You can also donate your time as a volunteer, helping with events, exhibits, and other activities at the museum.

Become a Founding Patron of the Museum. Make a monthly donation - just $10/month with lots of benefits!

Your donation will go directly to supporting the museum's mission of preserving and promoting the art of model railroading as a community service, and an educational resource. The museum is home to an impressive collection of model trains, historical artifacts, and interactive exhibits that bring the history of model railroading to life. Your donation will help to maintain and expand these exhibits, ensuring that visitors can continue to enjoy them for years to come.

In addition to supporting the museum's exhibits and programs, your donation will also help to fund the museum's educational outreach efforts. The museum offers a variety of educational programs for children and adults, including workshops, lectures, and hands-on activities that promote an understanding and appreciation of model railroading. We will collaborate with local schools and colleges to develop courses related to science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Some of these courses will be used for college credits. Your donations will also go toward scholarships for those students who excel in these programs.

Donating to the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads is a great way to support the foundation and the ongoing development of this new local institution and to help preserve the history and culture of model railroading. Whether you choose to make a one-time donation or become a sustaining member, your contribution will make a difference and help to ensure that the museum can continue to inspire and educate visitors for years to come.

In addition to your donations, we are actively requesting grants and sponsorships from railroads, model manufacturing companies, and other organizations. We are also pursuing affiliations with other museums and educational institutions. We will keep you informed as our progress continues. 

Despite those grants, etc., your personal donations are by far the most important support that we receive. We could not do this at all without your contributions. Please consider investing in the betterment of your community, preservation of the history, art and culture of model railroading, improving family entertainment and most of all, promoting education of students of all ages.

Thank you so much for reading our newsletter! We truly appreciate your interest and support. Please let us know if you would like more information.


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The Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads will be a fantastic community center based on running, operating and even building your own model railroads! There's something for every age here.

Learn about the real history of this area and how important it was in the building of America. Watch how railroads were built, the people involved, where America's roots were formed. 

As they build their own railroads, students will be learning about science, electronics,  architecture, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the art of 3 dimensional model landscaping. They can earn rewards for completing projects and winning contests.

Try to solve yardmaster problems on a switching layout like getting the lumber from the forest to the furniture store, by way of the saw mill and the lumber yard.

Run your train around blockades and other trains to get to the station on time without speeding or crashing.

Play railroad monopoly using model railroads. Winner is the one who can collect the most cars into his yard within an hour.

There will be programs for autistic and special needs kids, disabled adults and veterans.

School tours. Holiday Shows. Library and video rooms. Scouts are welcome. Even youngsters will have their own wooden models to enjoy. Classrooms and hands-on clinics for adults. Learn how to get started in the hobby. Or just enjoy the fun.

Everybody loves trains and this will prove it!  Just click on the either the blue or the yellow DONATE button below to make it happen... 

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Get Updates and Special Offers in 
the MRMHR Newsletter:
Making Tracks 
Sign Up Here...

The official newsletter for the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads