Sunday, May 25, 2014

Preschool and school train programs in 2014

May 20 marked the final day of School Train for 2014. This year the Museum hosted two full days of Preschool Train on April 29 and 30, and four days of School Train in April and May. The Preschool Train program is designed for children age 3-5. The School Train program is designed for grade 4, with a separate program for younger students and mixed-aged groups.

In 2014, 605 preschool children and adults attended the two day Preschool Train program. 631 children and adults attended the School Train program. So a total of 1236 people participated in the 6 days of educational programming this spring. In 2014 a large number of School Train participants were from small private schools, although there were attendees from the Federal Way, Renton, Lake Washington school districts. School Train is also popular with families that home school and this year was no exception.

School Train activities included a history intense grade 4 program, where students study primary source documents (census data and historic photographs) to learn about Valley life in 1890 and how the railroad changed everything here in the Pacific Northwest. Younger students and mixed-age groups were rotated thru three short activities that included Signs and Signals (all about ways we communicate with trains), a docent-led Depot tour, and a fun craft (decorate your own bandana) that doubled as a take-home. Students enjoyed coloring the bandanas while the educator enjoyed making the students first explain the historic role of bandanas on the railway. The program concluded with a 60 minute journey upon the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad, wherein students follow in the footprints of history, riding the same rails as those who traveled by train to the Snoqualmie Valley in the 1890s.

The Preschool Train program is similar, in that it includes rotation thru short age-appropriate activities followed by a 35 minute long train ride. (Preschool train is a 90 minute program whereas School Train is a 2 hour program.)
A special thanks to all the volunteer docents who helped with this educational programming, and to the running trades volunteers who operated the train!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

White glove team

The Northwest Railway Museum was honored to host a Reinforcement Crew event on May 17.  The Reinforcement Crew is a team of museum collections professionals from the Registrars Committee of the American Alliance of Museums ("AAM").  The AAM is holding their conference in Seattle this month and registrars from all over North American are visiting for this largest annual gathering of museum professionals in the world.

The Reinforcement Crew supports collections projects at small museums located in the annual conference host city. This 7th annual event selected five projects to support, including one here at the Northwest Railway Museum.   The Museum's project inventoried and boxed the collection of published material, which has been housed in the Snoqualmie Depot since the early 1980s.  This paper-based collection is being packed up and stored in preparation for its eventual relocation to the new Railway History Center library expected to open next year in Snoqualmie.  The new library will store materials in a temperature and humidity-controlled vault to help assure long term preservation.

Volunteers participating in the Northwest Railway Museum's project included Rebecca Engelhardt, Museum of Glass; Jessica Wilks, Tacoma Art Museum; Elizabeth K Mauro, Art Installation; Mell Scalzi, Museum of Arts and Design; Ariane Westin-McCaw, Nordic Heritage Museum; and Jeri Miller, Artech.  Participating from the Northwest Railway Museum were Cristy Lake, Peggy Barchi, Dennis Snook, George Houle and Spike.  Thank you to  all who participating!

During a seven hour work party, more than 120 boxes were filled with books and a detailed inventory of each box was generated and recorded.  Boxes were loaded into the Museum's coach 218, which has been undergoing rehabilitation and restoration in the Conservation and Restoration Center.  The 218 is nearly complete with a few weeks work on ceilings, some moldings and seats remaining to be completed. So it was a natural choice for transporting the library collection as it was not yet being used on the regular train, and it gave Museum staff an opportunity to evaluate the car's performance.  It also gave the visiting collections volunteers an opportunity to travel in rehabilitated coach more than 100 years old!