Memory Lane Railway Museum in Middleton will soon close after decades of showing off the age of trains. Terry Hyson has been with the museum since the beginning. The old train station is filled with an extensive collection of Dominion Atlantic Railway memorabilia and a collection of vintage items such as old farm tools, model railways, historical books, and manuscripts.
MIDDLETON - Unless new volunteers come aboard to help run the Memory Lane Railway Museum, the place will close later this year.
Scarlett Jess, chair of the Future View board, said the museum has been struggling to keep going ever since it lost its founder and director, the late Ron Johnson, a few years ago.
The board that oversees the museum has reached the difficult decision to permanently close the doors on the enterprise next month unless help arrives.
“Lately there have not been enough visitors to cover the cost of operation, the donations have not been sufficient for some time,” the board told employees last month.
“The furnace costs and the aging electrical system are costly items and we cannot see our way clear to deal with this expense as things stand now. We have books and souvenir items that can be sold and hopefully bring in some much needed cash flow.”
Stable Work Environment
For many years the museum has provided a stable work environment for its longtime employees Terry Hyson, Margaret Wilkins, Jeff Sydow, Robert Rhyndress, and Raymond Allen.
Terry Hyson says if the place shuts down, he’ll be pounding the streets in search of work.
“I should probably retire, but I never had a job until I came to Middleton,” he said. “It’s such a great relief to me to have work. I’d be bored out of my skull. This place means everything to me. I came here with Ron and I’ve been here ever since.”
Ron Johnson founded the train station museum nearly 20 years ago with the intention to offer a place where people could be seen for their gifts, rather than their differences.
Johnson managed the affairs of the museum and helped facilitate the daily routines at the station.
Future View, the board that oversees the station, needs new volunteers to assist as board members, in writing grant proposals, and helping with the day-to-day operations of the museum.
“We need a supervisor,” said Hyson. “We need someone to come and work here and decide the things that need to get done.”
Memory Lane Railway Station in Middleton has a large collection of Dominion Atlantic Railway memorabilia and other items such as old farm tools, model railways, historical books, and manuscripts. And of course there are working model trains everywhere.
Their Own Gifts
He added that each of the staff contribute their own gifts to the museum -- Hyson is the curator and museum’s story-teller, Margaret Wilkins does the books, Raymond Allen does yard work, and Robert Rhyndress is learning to be another curator.
Before Johnson leased the old train station, it was a derelict eyesore at the edge of town. Johnson led the group to transform the broken building into a quaint attraction for the Town of Middleton.
Its extensive collection of Dominion Atlantic Railway memorabilia and a collection of vintage items such as old farm tools, model railways, historical books, and manuscripts appeal to train buffs and a wide range of people.
Many of these items were either donated or salvaged and together they create a fascinating collection for people of all ages. Johnson’s dream was to continue investing in the train station museum property and eventually create a community garden with a picnic area.