‘We’ll do it together’: people helping people at the railway museum

Heather Killen hkillen@annapolisspectator.ca
Published on October 6, 2015

Terry Hyson, Margaret Wilkins, Jeff Sydnow, Robert Rhyndress, and Raymond Allen. The museum has been at a crossroad and is now headed in a new direction.

©Heather Killen

MIDDLETON - More than a dozen volunteers, board members, and staff of the Memory Lane Railway Museum met Oct. 5 to discuss the next steps.

Last month the board that oversees the museum said, unless new funding is found and volunteers come forward, the museum would be forced to close permanently this year.

Scarlett Jess, board chairwoman, said that enough new people have stepped forward with ideas and support to keep the momentum going. The plan is to start fresh: find enough money to get through the winter and reopen in the spring with a new direction.

“This is a celebration, it’s exciting. We really thought we were closing the doors,” she said. “We were in the process of contacting other museums to see if they would take the artifacts. But there is enough support now, we feel we can take another crack at this.”

For years the museum has been a stable work environment for Terry Hyson, Margaret Wilkins, Robert Rhyndress, and Raymond Allen.  Each contributes to the museum: Hyson is the curator and museum’s storyteller, Margaret Wilkins does the books, Raymond Allen does yard work and Robert Rhyndress is learning the ropes as curator.

Recently, the museum has been struggling under a shortage of money and volunteers.  New people are coming forward bringing their time and talent. People from a range of backgrounds have offered to help.

Several have experience working for the railways and bring a wealth of knowledge they hope will help revitalize the museum.

Bob Lorencz, the group’s new station co-ordinator, is overseeing a plan that will freshen up the look of the grounds and exhibits over the next several months.

“We’re going to clean it up, inside and out,” he said. “When people walk in here it will look like a railway station from the 1960s. It will take time, but we’ll do it together.”

Soon people will see a new sign posted outside and a spruced-up yard. Over the winter the museum will be revamped inside, the exhibits refined to reflect an authentic vintage train station.

He added they also plan a special exhibit showing the train station over the years, reflecting the changes from early days as a working station until now.

The group is also looking at raising the money it needs to pay the bills through the winter and reopen with the new plan next spring.

“We are looking for 100 people to donate $100,” he said. “That money will keep us going until we can access grants and have a business plan in place. ”

Anyone who wishes to volunteer, or make a donation to the museum is asked to contact the museum at 902-825-6062, or visit the website.