A long career should be able to boast of many past accomplishments. And on the Archives page you will find a brief account of several such projects, most of them successfully completed and linked to other web sites where you can learn more about them.
These are the glamour projects, having a tangible result one can see and appreciate. What is missing from this page, and will likely remain so, are the less engaging yet no less essential tasks performed for any organization. This includes drafting policy statements, news releases and procedures for using a computerized accounting system.
Such mundane projects do tend to account for the majority of a manager’s time if you are fortunate enough to be able to lay claim to having that long career. And so they at least deserve honorable mention before getting cast aside so that we can move on to the more appealing stuff, such as the items which follow.
Chicago & North Western No. 1385 – 1983: An Extended Reach
This special edition of the Mid-Continent Railway Gazette was the third in a sequence of reports on the history of the museum’s most celebrated steam locomotive, the C&NW No. 1385. The content of the magazine focuses on the expansion of the off-line excursions across the North Western’s system, taking the locomotive, its crew and an awareness of the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in rural North Freedom, WI to a new and much larger audience.
The magazine is illustrated with photos, maps and scans of archival documents to help the story of this important episode in the museum’s overall development. And to learn more about the story behind the story, just follow the link to the February 24, 2014 web log message A Special Edition Gazette.
Not all campaigns are successful. Some never even get the chance to come to fruition. One of my more enjoyable and challenging failures was the preparation of a case statement for the repair of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church located in Wauwatosa, WI. It was a rare occasion for me to indulge my history buff interests in something outside of the rail preservation projects that have dominated my career and this Archives page. You can learn learn more about what little I accomplished by accessing my January 16, 2016 web log message, A Moment in Time.
The Mid-Continent Railway Gazette: Vol. 44, No. 2, September 2011
The Gazette is a members’ magazine for the Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society and this issue is the latest in a series of six special editions, providing their membership with a comprehensive look into a single topic pertinent to the Society’s mission. It is the second time the magazine has been used as an economic way to create a case statement for a capital campaign. Only this time the presentation has been enhanced by the use of color images throughout the magazine’s pages.
The topic is Mid-Continent’s premiere steam locomotive, the Chicago and North Western No. 1385, and its role at the museum since its acquisition in 1961. Copies of the magazine may be purchased from the Society by clicking on the title to follow the link to Mid-Continent’s web store. In the index click on the Publications link. And you can follow their restoration reports by accessing Mid-Continent’s Facebook page.
Copyright MCRHS, Inc. 2011
This music CD is a product of the combined talents of a Mid-Continent member, who wrote nine of the ten songs featured on the album, and Laurie Lewis, a Grammy winning bluegrass artist who arranged and performed the songs along with members of her band. All rights to the songs were donated to Mid-Continent with the sole stipulation that any money generated from sales and royalties be applied to the museum’s Steam Fund to benefit its steam locomotive restoration program.
Copies of the CD may be purchased from the Society by clicking on the title to follow the link to Mid-Continent’s web store.
Make the Connection was the tag line used in a series of three TV commercials created for the Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Released in a specific sequence the ads were designed to help orient people to the museum experience while increasing the public’s awareness about Mid-Continent. The Depot showed everyone what to expect when they first enter the museum grounds. The Ride illustrated aspects of the museum’s primary feature of a train ride aboard vintage equipment. And The Collection helped to direct folks to tour the rest facility, extending their stay, while on the property.
To learn more about the design and production of this commercial series, visit the web log message entitled Commercial Artist posted on January 16, 2012. And make the connection.
Mid-Continent is well known for its wooden coach collection and the Badger #2 is unique even among this elite group of vintage pieces. Built in 1907 by Pullman, its passenger list was primarily made up of fish from the hatcheries in Wisconsin destined for stocking the state’s waterways.
This issue of the magazine was the fourth in a series of special editions, but it was the first to be used as a fund raising tool. Written by the museum’s archivist, Leah Rosenow, her original research continued to set a high standard against which all subsequent projects have been compared. The car has been restored and is on display at North Freedom and copies of the magazine may still be purchased from the Society.
Please click on the title to follow the link to Mid-Continent’s web store.
The third of Mid-Continent’s special editions of its members’ magazine was published in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the A-22’s construction.
The design of this railroad car conformed to the specifications of Louis W. Hill, son of the founder of the Great Northern Railway, who wished to carry his automobile with him wherever he traveled on the GN’s rail network. A gift from Laurence Dorcy, one of Hill’s grandsons, allowed the Society to hire a researcher to document the car’s history as preparation for the compilation of a restoration plan. The research performed by then intern Leah Rosenow not only formed the basis of the magazine’s content, it was also the principal feature in a presentation made to a select group of Hill family heirs at the Hill mansion in St Paul. The goal was to solicit from the family the money needed to fund the car’s restoration and display at the museum. But as of this date it remains unrestored and under tarp for protection from the elements.
Copies of this magazine may still be purchased from the Society by clicking on the title to follow the link to Mid-Continent’s web store.
This issue of the magazine was the first in a series of special editions created as part of an enhanced benefit to the Society’s membership. On the surface it celebrated the 100th anniversary of the construction of the rail line on which Mid-Continent had been operating its demonstration train rides for 40 years. The historic tie to the museum is that the line was built in 1903 by the Chicago & North Western Railway to serve the newly opened iron mines in the area.
But to learn more of the back story on the purpose behind the publication of this particular issue, you can access the web log message for November 14, 2011 to see how a single product can serve many purposes. Copies of this magazine may still be purchased from the Society.
Please click on the title to follow the link to Mid-Continent’s web store.
Member meetings can be long, tedious, extremely dull affairs. And the complications in organizing one of these events can easily become more troublesome when the organization is large, divided into autonomous departments with members who do not particularly like or trust one another. Welcome to the world of non-profit management in a volunteer-driven society. You can learn more about how designing a simple invitation to an annual event can be something of a peace offering, work of art and fount of pertinent information by reading the web log message, You Are Cordially Invited, posted January 1, 2016.
John Blair was an African-American porter for the St Paul & Duluth Railway, whose exploits saving the lives of his passengers and the people who sought refuge on board his train during the Great Hinckley Fire of 1894 became the subject of a children’s storybook published by Houghton Mifflin in 2000. I had the privilege of exhibiting the original artwork for that book at the request of the artist, Ted Rose. This was my first attempt to create what I considered a true museum exhibit and you can read about my recollections of that achievement by accessing my web log message of January 9, 2016 entitled On Fire for a Good Cause.
Help Steam Live – 1996
My very first capital campaign involved raising funds to repair a steam locomotive for my new employer, the Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society. They were well known for their wood wooden coach restorations on display at their museum in North Freedom, WI. But they were even more popular for their steam powered train rides, often pulled by their most celebrated locomotive, the Chicago & North Western No. 1385.
Under rules established by the Federal Railroad Administration these types of traveling boilers must come out of service for specific repairs in keeping with an established schedule. No. 1385 was up for just such an overhaul but also needed some unscheduled work before returning to service. The cost of the repair work was monumental for an organization that managed to make ends meet from year to year based on ticket and gift shop sales and a meager amount of donations. To learn more about this transforming and enlightening first time capital campaign for the museum and me follow the link to my January 23, 2016 web log message, The First Campaign.