NOVEMBER/2006: Museum Progress Report

Construction has begun! The first phase of the renovation of the Hamburg site of the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum is now underway. New walls to separate the future archives area from the future exhibit area are being erected. New doors and new heating and air conditioning systems will be installed soon. Roof repairs will be made. A new masonry wall to replace the industrial style glass panes will be installed. Renovations are funded by PA State DCED grants facilitated by PA Rep. David Argall and PA Sen. James Rhoades. Funding is also provided by members of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society (RCT&HS). The extensive archives of the RCT&HS will have their own home after 30 years!

Volunteers have been busy preparing the orientation theater. A donor has funded the purchase of carpeting for floor and walls. The professionally produced orientation video is complete. Museum visitors will view the exciting video, “The Reading Railroad Shaped Communities,” in the new theater. The video and projection equipment are made possible by a federal grant facilitated by US Senator Rick Santorum.

Professional preparation of the museum exhibits is moving ahead at full steam. The exhibits will illustrate five influences of the Reading Railroad on the communities it served: society, culture, environment, business and commerce, and railroad technology. Exhibits will feature artifacts of the Reading Railroad collected by the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society. One exhibit will include a console from a Reading Railroad control tower. The museum exhibit room will be a colorful and educational place for visitors of all ages. The Museum is expected to open in spring, 2007.

The museum project has brought many challenges to the RCT&HS. As you are aware, any project takes longer and costs more than expected. A list of donation opportunities for individuals or businesses is attached with this newsletter. In addition, volunteers are welcome to add their expertise in the areas of museum operations, retailing, business planning, property care, event planning, and more. The expansion of the Museum will benefit the entire area as the number of visitors rises. Consider becoming involved in the activities.