This is the third installment of a seven article series to
inform the public about what the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads (Museum)
wants to achieve in the long run. That’s why I’m writing a series of articles
reflecting what the museum is about, how we began, where we're going, and how we want to create a
venue the public will enjoy. If you're reading this article first, I recommend you check out the Museum’s April Newsletter
for the first installment titled “How Project Endeavor Came About” followed by
May’s Newsletter titled “Why Project Endeavor Moved from One to Multiple Layouts”.
What is the Museum's Purpose and Mission?
To set the stage for this article, it will be necessary to
include additional information to answer the above question. I’ll explain the Museum’s Concept, Basic
Design, Organizational Overview, Mission, Vision, Objective and Path to
Concept: Within the Hampton Roads area, there
are many separate model railroad groups that passionately enjoy the hobby of
model railroading. They get together whenever they can to talk about and
operate their model railroads. These clubs assemble their layouts temporarily
at train shows, occasionally at libraries and sometimes at assisted living
facilities for the public to enjoy. However, many of these clubs have no
location in which to display a layout more permanently, and the public’s access
to view those displays is very limited.
Continuing discussion among members of these groups and the
constant search for locations in which to display their layouts eventually led
to an idea fostered by our current Museum President about perhaps having a
central location where all major model railroading scales could be supported by local
model railroad clubs who would build more permanent displays where they could
have operating sessions regularly and be open to the public. This could provide
a wonderful educational service to the community as well. Thus, the concept of
creating a museum that would contain layouts of every major gauge (wooden train
layout for young children, Z, N, HO, S, O, G Scales), and that train enthusiasts of
all ages could enjoy, was born. This would serve the community and/or hosting city, if agreement
can be reached, and provide a platform enhancing Science, Technology,
Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) to foster greater opportunities of learning for
our youth. Out of these discussions, a Founding Committee was formed, and the
name Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads
The vision of the Founding Committee is that the Museum will
focus on the history of how railroads shaped our country as well as
demonstrating the art and science of model railroading as an educational
endeavor. The model railroading groups in this area have a long-established record of constructing model railroads, using
multiple disciplines combining STEAM concepts. The design and scope of the Museum
will be like no other in the country.
The educational aspects of model railroading as a hobby are
enormous. Constructing a model railroad requires knowledge about civil and
mechanical engineering, carpentry, physics, electronics, architecture, and
landscaping. It requires research into the history of the time and the location
of the railroad to be modeled, what services railroads performed in those
areas, how various products were made and brought to market. It requires
knowledge about business, commerce and the economy. It inspires artistry and
Like most museums, our Museum must seek and secure support and
funding for a home and operations. It must offer positive economic impact and
stimulation of tourism for the Hampton Roads area and be an educational outlet
for those interested in using model railroading to enhance knowledge that they are learning in school. Furthermore, it must contribute to the cultural stature of the
area. While the museum will be in a category all its own, it still needs the
support of the community at large to ensure it is a sustainable attraction.
The Museum's overall goal is to promote the general interests
of all persons engaged in model railroading including its history, growth,
knowledge, sharing, and fellowship, thus providing an arena in which
individuals can achieve greater personal growth under a collective
The Museum will be an independent, self-governing, non-profit
organization and should not be construed in any way as being a subsidiary of
any other organization, national or otherwise. Members and groups who join the Museum
do so at their own discretion as individual entities and not representing any
other organization. Model railroaders who are not part of any local group are
also encouraged to join. However, should a local model railroad club decide to
join as a group within the Museum, they must provide some level of day-to-day
responsibility to ensure museum operations are supported. If the group in which a prospective member
currently belongs decides not to join, that member can still join the Model
Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads outside of their group if they wish.
Mission Statement: Our mission is to provide access to
and promote the hobby of model railroading through educational and recreational
experiences that will inspire and contribute to the knowledge and enjoyment of
all people of all ages.
Vision Statement: Create a unique unified multi-scale
model railroad venue for public display and interaction.
Stay tuned for more information on our progress in the next
newsletter. One important note is that
we can’t do this without community support.
If you are interested and wish to provide support for a new Model
Railroad Museum in the Hampton Roads, a place where you and your family could
visit regularly to view and run trains, marvel at the craftsmanship and art of
the 3D landscaping, and learn about model railroading and the history of trains
in this area, please consider a tax deductible donation. Every dollar helps the Museum’s achieve its
goal to rent or purchase a facility!
Fred Humphrey, President
We are currently making plans to provide a traveling exhibit as one of our first services to the community. This exhibit will contain layouts of multiple scales (O, HO, N, Z) including modules of the popular HO scale train displays that can be connected together to form a large layout wherever it is requested. It could be at a church, a country club, library, museum, nursing facility - anywhere that has the space and the desire for it. These will be fully functioning model railroads, some of which will be ready for operation by visitors.
In addition, we will be offering another service around the Holidays of setting up Christmas train displays, including trains around trees, trains for parties, conventions or for any other venue.
Prices are very reasonable are very negotiable depending on the situation.
Please send an email for more details... firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to become more engaged as a model railroader, You should look at the NMRA.org, the main website of the National Model Railroad Association. All of the standards for model railroading are provided here along with tons of educational material. Our Museum is not affiliated with the NMRA, but I mention it here because it is such a good reference, and provides a path to excellence for model railroaders. Many of us at the Museum are members, but you do not have to be a member of the NMRA to be a member of the Museum.