Carnegie Science Center unveils latest model of its miniature railroad
Dr Earl Douglas Childs remembers visiting the Carnegie Science Center Model Railroad and Village while it was located at the Buhl Planetarium. The trains hypnotized him.
On Tuesday, the adult man was drawn to something else. The miniature model of his childhood home was unveiled at the attraction on the north coast of Pittsburgh.
“It’s such a beautiful representation of the building we lived in,” said Childs, a dentist. “I love seeing our house. It is an enchanted place. It is therefore the greatest deja vu. “
Her family lived on the third floor, a flight above her grandmother, Daisy Lampkin, at 2519 Webster Ave. in the Hill District. The first floor was rented.
Lampkin is honored for her dedication to civil rights and women’s suffrage movements. She lived in Pittsburgh most of her adult life. The new model celebrates the centenary of the railroad as well as the centenary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.
People can see the screen, including the new model, on Wednesday.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune review
Carnegie Science Center Miniature Railroad.
Lampkin has indelibly marked the future of black Americans and American history, Jason Brown told the Carnegie Science Center.
No matter how busy she was, Lampkin would take time for Childs. The first snow she would call it, would open a window, grab some white flakes and add cream, sugar and vanilla, he said.
“And just like that, we had the first ice cream of the season,” Childs said. “Thanks to her, I knew no limits. She opened the doors so I could walk through them.
Childs said Lampkin is one of the people who paved the way for Kamala Harris, the first woman and woman of color to be elected vice president.
Lampkin cared about what was right, he said.
The children would sit on a chair by the window while Lampkin worked.
“She let me cut some paper, and I’m sure I destroyed something important, but she didn’t care,” he says.
In addition to the new model, improvements to the exhibit space include new digital text panels, an archival image wall, and decor and lighting improvements.
The history of the railroad began when Charles Bowdish of Brookville, Jefferson County, built a vacation display in his home in 1919. He grew the creation over the decades, eventually moving it to the Buhl Planetarium on the North Side of Pittsburgh in 1954. After the Buhl merged with the Carnegie Museums in 1987, the railroad moved to the Carnegie Science Center in 1992. It features hundreds of realistic animated scenes.
Carnegie Science Center Miniature Village and Railroad launched a new model today pic.twitter.com/mcyhmK9etC
– JoAnne Harrop (@joannescoop) November 17, 2020
Lampkin was born in 1883 near Washington, DC, moved to Pittsburgh in 1909 and married William Lampkin, a restaurant owner, chef and caterer.
She began her public career in 1912 leading black women’s groups for street corner campaigns and consumer protests. She was instrumental in the growth of the NAACP, winning the National Woman of the Year award in 1945.
The science center was excited to share Lampkin’s story, said Patty Everly, who has served as the science center’s curator of historical exhibits for the past 29 years.
“What an activist she was,” Everly said. “I love her story because it made a difference.”
The model fits perfectly with the centenary of women’s suffrage, said Nikki Wilhelm, program assistant for the science center. She wrote an article on Lampkin for graduate school.
“This is also linked to the social unrest this year in our country,” Wilhelm said. “So our timing couldn’t have been better.”
Childs remembered the last time his grandmother left the state for a speech. She was not feeling well but told him that she had to leave. She suffered a stroke and then some additional mini-strokes. She died shortly after.
“I remember her as a woman who didn’t rest and seek accolades,” Childs said. “She was an amazing woman to so many people. To me she was also amazing, an amazing grandmother. Every time she went out of town, she always told me it was good to be home, in this house, right here.