Postitive experiences/benefits in volunteering at RR museum?

General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

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Postitive experiences/benefits in volunteering at RR museum?

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:11 am

I recently visited a great railroad museum and was thinking about volunteering there, particularly as a crew member on the museum's trains.

However, my time is severely limited and I try to focus on things that are beneficial for my career (lawyer) or faith-based things.

Has anyone on this board volunteered for a railroad museum and, if so, how did things work out? Was it productive? Did you learn valuable things about railroad operations? Make beneficial contacts?

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Re: Postitive experiences/benefits in volunteering at RR mus

Postby trackwelder » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:44 pm

i'm a volunteer at the east broad top in central, pa, and i have nothing but good things to say about the experience. you'll learn more in a day about the railroading from hands on experience than from a lifetime research. meeting new people from every walk of life, of every age and opinion, all united by at least one common interest; it truly enriches you as a person. my only regret about it is that i can't get out there to help more often (damn night shift). the youngest people in our gang are in high school, the oldest in their 80's. people from the city and the backwoods, cosmopolitan liberals and dyed in the wool conservatives. we put all our differences aside and just cheerfully work, side by side, to get the job done. when of my best friends out there doesn't know which way to swing a hammer, but he uses his education and talents on the board of directors for the organisation, helps shake grant money loose, and is one of the best researchers i;ve ever met.
rail maintainer, 1st class
FEBT volunteer

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Re: Postitive experiences/benefits in volunteering at RR mus

Postby Mr rt » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:35 am

I was interested in trains since my youth when I could hear & see freight rolling down the Ct river.
Then I moved to Boston & experienced trolleys (PCCs) & subways.
Next I ended up in NYC & discovered the internet.

I knew for a long time that there was a trolley museum at Branford CT, but when I learned they had subway cars I joined at a guest operator event.
Now I belong to four trolley museums: BERA, CERA, Seashore & IRM (my son lives near them).
I'm an operator at BERA & CERA also a Trustee at BERA. I've done track work, car restoration, roofed a barn, etc.

Along the way I have met many folks who I now consider friends.
My suggestion to you is join a museum close to you that you could get to once in a while.
Read their news letter & look out for some kind of once a year "member's day" event. There will be lots of folks to talk to & equipment to see.
They will probably have hambergers & hot dogs, etc., so bring the family.
If you can't get there too often, that's OK because they will love to take your money.
You can direct what project you want it applied to and watch it's progress.
Mr rt
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Re: Postitive experiences/benefits in volunteering at RR mus

Postby Thunder » Wed May 07, 2014 1:37 pm

I have volunteered at a few. Currently at one in Illinois and I am having a ball. Its my railroading for fun time. I work for a commuter agency and its work, this volunteer time is for my love of history.
I've been everywhere!
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Re: Postitive experiences/benefits in volunteering at RR mus

Postby Mikejf » Sat May 24, 2014 7:03 pm

I will echo trackwelder, but also add this. I get a sense of satisfaction when the day is done. It matters, no matter what you do. Don't expect to jump onto train crew, some places have a waiting period before you can do that. The one I belong to has a 150 hour rule. 150 hours of volunteer time before training. It sounds like a lot but it shows commitment. I made quite a few friends in that time.
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Re: Postitive experiences/benefits in volunteering at RR mus

Postby Michael D. Storey » Sat Jan 31, 2015 3:50 pm

Years ago, I volunteered every day for seven years at a then-new Museum. One of the greatest experiences of my life. I think of those times every day.
Michael D. Storey
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Re: Postitive experiences/benefits in volunteering at RR mus

Postby Engineer Spike » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:42 pm

I volunteered at one for a while. Unfortunately it had a certain social dynamic, which was unfavorable. There were certain volunteers who were friends of those in charge, and those who paid dues to support the first group, but weren’t welcome. I say screw it to volunteering. If there is too much choo choo penned up in my system, I’ll mark up supplementally. The charity that this supports is more cash for the Spike family.

No more volunteering for me unless it is on my own terms!
Engineer Spike
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