Every museum has pieces in their collection that don't look good. As for our place looking like an abandoned rail yard....like many say....it does in some respects. The larger visitor's center certainly doesn't look abandoned. I suppose being a volunteer there and liking trains...its hard to see it that way, but maybe the general public does. The important thing is that most of the museum pieces that are historically significant (age wise) are under cover. Not all of the collection is undercover, but most of the more unique/older style cars are under cover. As with all museums...an important realization to have is that not everything will be restored. Its simply not possible in a volunteer organization. Much of the stuff that most people may think is junk is historically valuable. Lots of the stuff that you may think doesn't work at the museum...in fact does work! I'm not trying to personally get upset at anyone here on the forum....but I have heard our museum referred to as a junk yard much too often and many more times than once. It makes the few of us that do volunteer there feel as if our efforts are going un-noticed when comments like this are shared among the railroad enthusiast community. So if you would like to call our museum a junk yard...please come down and help make it appear like a trolley museum. After you volunteer a while, maybe you will see that it's not as easy as just telling someone to go make something look new again. We are the oldest incorporated organization dedicated to preserving trolleys. We were among the first...saving our first trolley car from Hartford in 1940. Please help us continue into the future. There are many things that set us unique from other trolley museums in New England. Every trolley museum has that unique quality that makes them different. We cross public roads with authentic 1920's style railroad crossings. Our signal system is far from anything I have seen at any other trolley museum. They are railroad signals complete with semaphores, dwarf signals, and other different styles. With much of our line being straight, the cars can get some good speed with the right car and the right conditions. I'm not trying to brag about our museum. I'm just trying to share what I think much of the railroad enthusiast community doesn't know. I'm surprised that there aren't more volunteers from forums like this who would have an interest in a trolley museum with such a diverse collection of things. We have tall plans that can only be accomplished with help from folks like yourself who read this.
I would hope that someday in the future, a working alliance could be had between the two trolley museums in the state. Yes, we acknowledge each other's existence, but wouldn't the bigger picture be much better if we applied for grants as one organization? Connecticut is lucky to have two trolley museums and it should be used to each others advantage. It almost seems there is little to no interaction/joint efforts between the two museums. You will hear a little gossip here and a little there but I think in order for the 2 museums to survive longterm...over the next 100 years, it would be great to see them combine efforts, work together, and apply for grants as one body. Maybe i'm dreaming to much here, but I do think it could be done and would benefit both museums immensely.
If anyone has any questions, comments, or suggestions about the Conn. Trolley Museum, I would be happy to welcome them and will provide my personal e-mail address if you would like to make contact or volunteer.