Our mission is to develop a learning space for children and adults of all ages for the purpose of providing a fun and entertaining environment in which people can see and operate model railroads, and learn about the science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics that all go into the building and functioning of these layout displays while having fun at the same time. This will be a family oriented, community service, open to people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. We will enhance school STEM programs by providing hands-on clinics, classes, videos, model train operations, architectural and engineering concepts. New technology and electronics will be presented that demonstrate automation of train movements, signals, signs, indicator lights, sound effects, controlling trains wirelessly with radiofrequency and infrared waves, using virtual reality and augmented reality to build and control scenery and operations, computer control of train layouts, and touch controls, including classes on how everything works. We intend to provide scholarships to students who excel in the STEM concepts and support other institutions who do the same. In addition, we will teach the history of railroads in Virginia and specifically in Hampton Roads, how they operated and stimulated the economy, how they transported goods, services, and people, and how they served industries from logging camps to furniture companies, from coal mines to power facilities, from farms to grocery stores, etc.
The science and art involved in building, operating, and understanding model railroading is much more expansive than most people realize. There is so much to be learned here while being entertained at the same time, which tends to make the information stick. These are concepts that can be carried long into the future and may stimulate interest in future careers in science and technology. We believe there is a general public need to understand science better which would improve our daily lives and help us in making better decisions.
Even more than learning about STEM concepts, model railroading improves many other skills required in daily life, like teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, troubleshooting, problem-solving, failing and then succeeding, dedication, reliability, perseverance, socialization, and developing “people skills.”
These general concepts, as well as all the knowledge encompassed by STEM, are what we want to bring to our community of Hampton Roads, inside a fun and exciting environment that families and children of all ages can enjoy.