Carnegie Science Center looks to makeover the mini-railroad exhibit
The beloved Carnegie Science Center Miniature Railroad and Village has been around for over a century. Today, after 100 years of wear and tear, the Science Center seeks to keep the railroad going for centuries.
He launches the Miniature Railroad & Village 100e Anniversary Sunday Campaign, a crowdfunding effort to raise $ 30,000 for rail network maintenance.
The Science Center is looking for contributions to add a new carpet, fresh paint, updated signage, new entrance video, and LED lighting.
The renovations will include movement-activated digital text panels and the contributions will also fund online digitization and the publication of an archive, including photos and letters from creator Charles Bowdish.
“I think what’s so unique about the Miniature Railroad is that the Pittsburgh area really feels like theirs,” said Nicole Chynoweth, director of marketing for the Carnegie Science Center.
“People are incredibly passionate about this exhibit, so whenever it came time to decide how we wanted to fundraise to implement these improvements, we thought it would be a great opportunity to let the public participate in this effort. “
The online campaign for the Miniature Railroad is available at bit.ly/MRRV100.
The Miniature Railroad began in 1919 when Bowdish set up a holiday exhibit on Christmas Eve 1919 at his home in Brookville, Jefferson County. It included handcrafted replicas of regional landmarks, like Forbes Field and years later Fallingwater.
The exhibit became so popular that hundreds of thousands of people, including buses full of school children, came to see it every holiday season.
After 35 years, Bowdish moved the display to the Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh in 1954. In 1992, he moved to his permanent residence in the new Carnegie Science Center, where it has grown and become a year-round attraction. .
Today, up to five trains and a cart ply the streets and farms, rivers and bridges and tunnels in a 2,300 square foot four-season landscape.
Chynoweth calls it a Western Pennsylvania History Walking Tour.
“The story of the Model Railroad is the story of our community and that’s one of the main reasons it’s important to continue to preserve this exhibit,” said Chynoweth. “This is how we are able to teach future generations about pivotal moments in Western Pennsylvania history.”
The railroad exhibit, which still has some of its original pieces, cannot be touched, so Chynoweth says they plan to add things that people can touch.
“We hope to add more interactive digital elements that people can browse to learn more about the different (aspects) of the story.”
Paul Guggenheimer is an editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected]