ELKHART — It’s been a year since Robin Hume took over at the New York Central Railroad Museum. Since then, revenue has increased compared to figures from 2009-11. While her staff keeps detailed admissions records, Hume said there isn’t information before her ascent. Revenue from the gift shop has also doubled.
While the museum still runs off funding from the city, Hume is optimistic about its future ability to provide its own funding.
“At some point we will, hopefully sooner than later, be able to be self-sustaining,” she said. “Being able to bring in grants will additionally help with that and take any pressure off of the city.”
The museum has started a “Friends of the New York Central Railroad Museum,” a 501(c)3 organization that has been granted nonprofit status by the state. It is still waiting for the federal government to do the same. The group was established in February of this year, and will act as a fundraising arm for the museum. It will be able to apply for more grants that will help the museum tackle additional projects, such as a cover for the Mohawk steam engine.
The Mohawk used to be a steam engine that ran from New York to Chicago and stopped in Elkhart. The train is leased to the museum from the Lakeshore Railroad Historical Foundation. It will need several million dollars to be completed, and Hume said right now the volunteers are taking care some of the aesthetic aspects, to at least ensure that it looks the same way it did years ago.
“We want to preserve it and make sure it doesn’t deteriorate any further,” she said.
The museum has plenty of projects to keep it busy. It hopes to hold a ribbon cutting to open the children’s train, the NIBCO Express, in June. Next weekend it will hold the 2nd Annual Model Steam Toy, Engine and Erector Set Show. It will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 11 and May 12. The convention will be presented by the A.C. Gilbert Heritage Society.
This weekend, the New York Central System Historical Society will have its annual convention. It will be the first time the society has had the event in Elkhart. There will be display booths, food for sale, opportunities to see the museum exhibits, working model trains and video and slide shows. The train fair will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the train fair is $5 for adults, $4 for children ages four to 12 and seniors 61 and older, and free for those three and under.
The museum is at 721 S. Main St., Elkhart. For information, call 294-3001, email email@example.com;[URL]. For information on the New York Central System Historical Society, go to [/URL]www.nycshs.org;http://www.etruth.com/article/20120327/NEWS05/703279981/0/FRONTPAGE[URL].[/URL]