This year, with the assistance and generosity of our amazing volunteer, Richard Moeller, we are raffling off two O Gauge Lionel trains from the 1970s. The lucky winners will be announced January 2nd & Richard will make a personal house-call to help set up the trains and show how to maintain them.
Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20.
Please inquire at the front desk next time you visit.
We asked Richard to share a bit more about how he got involved with the model train exhibit at SFCM and here is what he had to say:
One of our family’s favorite traditions was to set up electric trains over the holidays, make paper houses and scenery and enjoy the magic together. We did this with our two sons for many years. When they left home, they each left with their own train sets and the tradition. I continued to find old electric train parts at garage sales, assemble the pieces into train sets and started to give them to the the children of friends as holiday gifts. With them, we continued to participate, share, spread and enjoy the tradition. And for many years , at holiday time, I would dust off a layout in our basement and invite neighborhood children to come and play with the trains. My sons and I had built it when they were in middle school. The trains, with cookies in the cars, colored lights and pine bough decorations created a wonderful holiday mood.
In 2011, after we moved to Santa Fe, I proposed to the Children’s Museum the idea of an interactive train layout, to be held over the holidays in which children could experience the joy of building houses and scenery, placing their work on the layout for all to admire and then actually running the trains. The proposal was accepted, a layout was built similar to my old basement design using some of the trains I had as a boy, and the first trains ran over the 2011 holidays. I attribute the success of this first year and the subsequent years to the fact that many children were proud to participate as they had a stake in the creation of the layout. The construction materials offered were such that any age could be successful. Having a construction table in view of the layout encouraged many more children to participate.
By exposing children to the delights of electric train play, we thought to spark family train traditions. I donated two antique train sets to be raffled and subsequently was invited to the homes of the raffle winners to help in the assembly. Their appreciation moved me to continue donating two antique train sets each year. And I continue to be moved when previous trains set winners tell me that trains have become part of their family holiday traditions.
I believe that the interactive train layout has been a success because of a ” for the children and by the children” philosophy”. There are many traditional electric train layouts in New Mexico but the SFCM layout is the only one I know of in which the children can play and feel personally part of it. -Richard Moeller