Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thomas arrives!

The Museum's annual visit from Thomas the Tank Engine® is upon us!

Today, Thursday, June 30, 2011, Thomas arrived in North Bend, WA. He traveled on a special truck from an event in Oregon and was unloaded in downtown North Bend by a team of the Museum's running trades volunteers. Bob L., Jeanette M., Jim H., Shawn M., Vern S., Dan C., Ken L., and Chuck S. all contributed to a successful move.

Check out this short video illustrating the process of switching Thomas the Tank Engine off his special truck in this behind-the-scenes look at the Museum:

Day Out With Thomas® will be held July 8, 9, 10 & 15, 16, 17 at the Snoqualmie Depot. Tickets are $19 and are available in the Snoqualmie Depot at 38625 SE King Street, or on line via the Museum's web site. Proceeds support operation of the Northwest Railway Museum and the new Railway History Center construction.

Thomas the Tank Engine and Day Out With Thomas are registered trademarks of Gullane (Thomas) Ltd.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monitoring the environment

Museum collections are expected to last for a really long time. To preserve objects in a collection for a really long time, museums attempt to control the environmental factors that affect preservation. Too much light, humidity, heat and improper handling all contribute to deterioration. So with a conditioned building and good collections management practices, the likelihood of an object surviving for hundreds of years improves. Improving the microenvironment inside a building or storage room can even further increase the life expectancy.

Some situations do not require a lot of analysis. Many of the Northwest Railway Museum’s large objects have been stored outside for years. Getting those large objects into a building and keeping them dry has extended their life expectancy by many years.

Other situations - for instance the conditions inside the building - require more information before improvements can be identified and implemented. The best compromise of conditions would be 45% relative humidity and a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However these conditions are difficult – or impossible – to achieve most of the year unless special air handling equipment is installed. A related factor affecting preservation is the rate of change for temperature and humidity. Simplistically, it is preferable to have constant higher humidity and/or temperature than optimal conditions that cannot be held constant resulting in daily fluctuations. Environmental monitoring allows a museum to determine what is occurring so that the best compromise can be reached, and to plan for long term improvements such as the installation of supplementary dehumidification.

A collections grant from 4Culture has funded the purchase of 10 environmental monitoring units. The solid state devices record temperature and humidity readings every 30 minutes and retain up to 10 years of data. The PEM-2 units are manufactured by the Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology and are among the most trusted devices in the museum field.

The PEM-2 monitoring units have been placed inside the Museum’s buildings, and in storage areas where the most vulnerable objects – including photographs, paintings, and books –are stored. The data will be used to help establish priorities for environmental improvements by identifying obvious problems and trends that lead to problems.

Thanks to 4Culture’s support, the Museum is able to study the environment that collections are stored in. The data will be used to optimize the settings of the existing environmental controls, and to plan for future investment that will further improve preservation.

Photo: A PEM-2 device displaying 74% RH - much too humid for preservation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

GiveBIG to make giving history June 23

How would you like to be part of what promises to be the biggest community-wide, charitable giving day in King County history?

GiveBIG is an online giving challenge benefiting King County nonprofit organizations. Any donation you make to the Northwest Railway Museum through The Seattle Foundation's online Giving Center between 7:00 AM and midnight, Thursday, June 23, will be stretched further, thanks to The Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG sponsors.

The Museum values The Seattle Foundation as a supporter and funder. The Foundation currently supports a “complex fabric of issues” through a countywide philanthropic agenda called A Healthy Community. We’re deeply moved by the importance A Healthy Community places on arts and culture as well as basic needs, education, economy, environment, health and other issues.

Over the years, The Seattle Foundation has given the Museum several generous grants in support of general operating expenses and the Railway History Center Train Shed capital campaign. Now The Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG sponsors have arranged to stretch donations made by you and other involved community members next week during one special day of giving. Funds received by the Museum will support collection care, including our interpretive railway, and help complete the track leading into the Train Shed exhibit building.

Here's how GiveBIG works:

1) Please visit our page in The Seattle Foundation Giving Center on Thursday, June 23.

2) On that day, the Donate Now button will reveal a link for making credit card donations. Click and enter your donation and Visa or MasterCard information. That’s it!

The Museum will receive your gift plus a prorated portion of The Seattle Foundation's $500,000 stretch pool based on the total value of donations the Museum receives during the day.

In addition, if you're randomly selected to win a Golden Ticket some time during the day, you'll earn an additional $1,000 for the Northwest Railway Museum!

What can you do to get ready?

1) Mark your calendar today so you'll remember to make a gift Thursday, June 23, between 7:00 AM and midnight.

2) “Attend” the Museum’s GiveBIG event on Facebook.

3) Check out The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG event page.

4) Rally your friends through Facebook, Twitter ((#GiveBIG)), email, phone and good old face-to-face. Every donation made to the Museum through The Seattle Foundation Giving Center between 7:00 AM and midnight on June 23 will increase the Museum's share of the $500,000 stretch pool!

We know the power of one when acting in sync with other committed individuals. Exactly one year ago today, we learned that Chapel Car 5 Messenger of Peace had been awarded a generous grant from Partners in Preservation because of your ardent response to an online voting campaign. Thank you for being part of such a wonderful, active community of friends and supporters! We hope you’ll join us on June 23 for The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG event.