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 Post subject: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:08 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 1130
Location: B'more Maryland
The B&O Museum wants to not only be for tourists

https://www.thebaltimorebanner.com/cult ... 76OA5FFQM/

This is a good example of an institution trying to sure up its local support by tying its activities to the community it exists in.

This is a great example of proactively combating NIMBYism and community opposition.

Granted, there's a big difference between the B&O and what the folks in Pemberton had done, but if they had tried things in this direction perhaps their story would've ended differently.

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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:15 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 1592
The archives on display sounds like a pretty neat addition. I certainly wish they would focus on operating a steam locomotive again - that's a major part of understanding and appreciating the history of Railroads but it's great they are getting funding to improve and expand.

I'm not exactly sure I understand where the new entrance is going to be? Anyone that has more knowledge of the site care to explain a bit more?


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2024 4:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11601
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
To be fair about this, the B&O Museum has been engaging in "community outreach" efforts like this since even before the roundhouse roof collapse in 2003. One could debate for hours on their success or lack thereof, and ask whether any lack of success would be the fault of the Museum, the community, or both. It might be useful, as a comparison exercise, to compare their community outreach efforts to similar institutions in Baltimore, such as the Maryland Zoo, Fort McHenry, The Star-Spangled Banner House, Leakin Park (and its live-steam RR group), the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, etc.

I lived in the Baltimore area for over 25 years, and I would suggest that part of the problem may well be a fundamental difference in the sense of "community" between urban and more rural areas or "small-town America." Any way we look at this, it's a wider discussion fairly off topic here, and an issue applied to few major rail museums nationwide. Compare the B&O Museum with Kirkwood's NMoT, Green Bay's NRM, Sacramento's CSRM, or even York, England's NRM. Now contrast that with Altoona's Railroaders Memorial Museum or Chattanooga's TVRM, as just two examples.

As for the new entrance, from what the pictures and plans show, it'll be on the lower level of the South Car Shops, the building that has long been the "back corner" of the museum's display space. Here's the current (2020) Google Street View:
https://maps.app.goo.gl/zhfjMN8hNbSmgVS89

I'll say that's long been considered the "wrong side of the tracks" in that neighborhood, an area some won't drive in and I wouldn't park my car in. This is the seedy part of Baltimore depicted in HBO's "The Wire." I hesitate to speculate how putting a main entrance even further from the Baltimore tourist haunts than the current entrance will help without a healthy dose of "urban renewal" and more, but that's no longer my worry (or car window being busted).


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 9:38 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 1130
Location: B'more Maryland
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
I'll say that's long been considered the "wrong side of the tracks" in that neighborhood, an area some won't drive in and I wouldn't park my car in. This is the seedy part of Baltimore depicted in HBO's "The Wire." I hesitate to speculate how putting a main entrance even further from the Baltimore tourist haunts than the current entrance will help without a healthy dose of "urban renewal" and more, but that's no longer my worry (or car window being busted).


That is the truth. Or at least it has been.

Over the past 15 years it's actually been really encouraging watching the wave of improvement slowly move west from MLK Blvd.

Compare this street view from 2022 with the one from 2007.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.2869226 ... &entry=ttu

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.2869234 ... &entry=ttu

The houses may be the same, but notice the upgraded doors, windows, etc... That's a pretty decent tell of rising values and a neighborhood on the mend.

I'm not saying it's there yet, but there are improvements slowly happening, and I honestly think the museum's attempts to be part of the community might be part of that.

These things don't usually improve with a big bang, it's a litany of small things, and it's great to see the museum doing its part instead of seeing itself as a fortress or an outpost.

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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 2:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 4665
Location: Maine
I have to agree with the wholehearted approach to expanding both a railroad museum and cultural library to a wider audience. It may well be the catalyst to transform the lives of young people and raise the pride of older and retired railroad people. No doubt it will come at an expense, but then what is a museum supposed to focus on as it's mission?

I hope this raises more flowers than weeds. Good luck, B&O Museum!

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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 3:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 1592
Richard Glueck wrote:
I have to agree with the wholehearted approach to expanding both a railroad museum and cultural library to a wider audience. It may well be the catalyst to transform the lives of young people and raise the pride of older and retired railroad people. No doubt it will come at an expense, but then what is a museum supposed to focus on as it's mission?


Restoring and Opening more historic buildings up to the public, and bringing archives out to the public, are both very much on mission so I'm not really criticizing the plan, but I do wish they would focus more on the history of the original mile - and operate steam again.

A common theme with NPS and State Funded museums is directors don't really understand that for a railroad museum to do the best job possible - visitors need to see, hear, and smell active railroading, ideally from different eras. That's understandable of course, they have been trained and worked in a very different definition of the word "museum."


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 11:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11601
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
A common theme with NPS and State Funded museums is directors don't really understand that for a railroad museum to do the best job possible - visitors need to see, hear, and smell active railroading, ideally from different eras. That's understandable of course, they have been trained and worked in a very different definition of the word "museum."

The B&O Railroad Museum is neither NPS nor state-funded, nor is it an arm of the Smithsonian Institution in spite of its "affiliation." Nor is it, as too many Baltimoreans apparently believe, a Baltimore City-administrated museum.

There exist logistical problems with the "First Mile" concept and using that land for activities and demonstrations. All the "history" out there does nothing to negate the fact that the right of way is adjacent to one of the roughest, most dangerous neighborhoods in Baltimore. In the past, excursion runs on the "First Mile" have had to be escorted by Baltimore City Police riding dirt bikes on either side of the train, to dissuade and prosecute ever-present rock throwers. I've had rocks thrown in my general direction riding an open vestibule on that line, and watched the punks drop their ammo and scatter as I pointed my camera at them. There were (probably still are) homeless encampments along the route plagued with drug use and violence. When I assisted in relocating the ex-B&O E8 off the property en route to West Virginia, I had to cut holes in the side of the nose below the rust from the sandboxes and shovel hundreds of drug needles and other detritus out of the loco's nose, and replace the former copper air brake pipes that had been chopped out by crack fiends. (The same thieves had burned untold amounts of wiring in the cab to burn the insulation off the copper, and taken saws to main cables in the engine compartment and to the generator. The soot in the cab was unbelievable.)

In short, this isn't Colonial Williamsburg or Strasburg we're dealing with here.


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2024 1:38 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 1592
Well they run trains with diesel 4 days a week and even use the B&O observation car - a very nice car! So I’m not sure if the crime / vandal issue is the problem.

I always forget that B&O is not state or government- all the Smithsonian logos do throw me off!!!

It is a great museum - Sacramento, Strasburg, and Baltimore are the top 3 in the country easily. Hard to pick a winner as they all do a great job.


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2024 12:22 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11601
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
Well they run trains with diesel 4 days a week and even use the B&O observation car - a very nice car! So I’m not sure if the crime / vandal issue is the problem.


It's not a B&O observation. It's former NYC observation 48, that somehow got acquired by MARC in trade for ten RDCs, had no point being on MARC, and was on extended loan to the B&O Museum. MARC "transferred title" (i.e. donated) to the B&O Museum in 2009. As far as I know, it's used solely as a "cab car" for the backup move and as the train's HEP generator. It's supposedly off-limits to "regular" riders, but supposedly some "special invited guests" have ridden the car (think politicians, VIPs, etc.).

WAY too much on it and its sister cars here:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=36247


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2024 11:26 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 1592
It’s open to the public - the museum charges extra to ride in it. ($12 vs. the $5 for coach).


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 2:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11601
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
File this under "if you propose it, they will donate" (see also: EBT):

https://www.wmar2news.com/local/b-o-rai ... of-america

Quote:
The City's B&O Railroad Museum just got a big boost to its renovation plans.

The Bank of America on Monday announced a $500,000 grant to support the museum's plan to restore the South Car Works building in the museum.

The restoration plan will reconfigure the museum's layout, with the entrance to be at the South Car Works building, create community-accessible spaces, an amphitheater, and a street-facing cafe, among other changes.

"We are excited to support a project that will upgrade a respected anchor institution in Southwest Baltimore, while also spurring economic development and further investment in our local community," says Janet Currie, the Bank of America Greater Maryland President.

The museum is hoping the renovations will be completed in time for the 200th anniversary of American railroading in 2027.


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11601
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
In searching for other coverage on the Bank of America grant to the B&O RR Museum, I stumbled upon this TV report from last month. Though it has absolutely nothing to do with railroad preservation as we perceive it, it highlights yet another example of "community outreach" by the Museum, one far more likely to resonate with neighbors and Museum patrons positively than "just another choo-choo" operating there:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/travel/ ... i-AA1o3x5F


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 4:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 1592
I did eat lunch at that cafe on my last visit - certainly a step up from the average snack bar at railroad museums.

I'm not sure why you are implying that operating steam locomotives wouldn't be good for the museum. They attract visitors for special events and they educate on the mission - there should be no reasons not to be supporting them.

That $500,000 grant could probably cover the restoration of the switcher. Put a "presented by Bank of America" on advertisements for operating steam. Win win.


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11601
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
That $500,000 grant could probably cover the restoration of the switcher. Put a "presented by Bank of America" on advertisements for operating steam. Win win.

Is it that you can't read, or won't?

Quote:
The Bank of America on Monday announced a $500,000 grant to support the museum's plan to restore the South Car Works building in the museum.


Such grants do NOT happen in a vacuum. Right now it is more important to the Museum and Bank of America to make the Museum more "presentable" and "attractive" prior to any "Iron Horse 200" party, and that takes longer and more money than restoring a little steam switcher. (Remember, another party in Baltimore got a big 4-8-4 steaming in "only 28 days" years ago.....)


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 Post subject: Re: The B&O Museum's latest efforts on community inclusion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 6:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 1592
Yes, I’m aware what the grant is being given for… I was giving an example of what the money could also be used for.

Not sure why you get so upset at the suggestion of steam running at a railroad museum lol.


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