Friday, November 29, 2013

The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad Museum

With renewed strength for the journey, we drove to our next stop, the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad Museum.  Admission was $8 per person which seemed quite pricey to me, considering the State Historical Museum has more than 3 times as much interesting content and is "free"--though I guess we pay for that sooner or later in taxes (few things in life are really free).  The museum workers seemed bored, sitting around talking to each other and offering no guidance, interesting stories, or information on the museum.  So we were on our own!
In the photo above, you can see part of the layout of the museum.  The first items we looked at were the conductors' uniforms.  The manikin modeling one of the uniforms was so life-like both my sister and I did double-takes more than once.  

There was a lot of telegraph equipment, lanterns, and assorted paraphernalia.

Some of the railroad advertisements and promotional materials are show above.  Various train companies promoted their businesses with pocket knives, First Aid Kits, insect repellent, and rulers.  
Railroad Badges
Have you ever seen a Bible "Read and Return" rack on a train?  
The above Bible rack was a courtesy provided on Pullman Cars.

The 4 Wheel Velocipede or Railroad Bicycle  was built for railroad inspectors to ride while inspecting the tracks.  Also featured at the museum is a 3 Wheel Velocipede used by inspectors, and various other vehicles used when making repairs or inspecting.
There were throw switches like the ones shown above, and a large collection of insulators.

Railroad china and silver were on display.

Toward the back of the building there was a telegraph office/train station replica.

Railroad pocket watches are pictured above.  Railroad companies agreed on a standardized time in the United States after several trains collided because watches were not synchronized; ultimately "railroad time" became official in spite of resistance by locals who wanted to keep their own local time, resenting the idea of having to "eat, sleep, work...and marry by railroad time."

Railroad Signal Lights

A Fairmont Motor Car
There were also model trains, old telephones and typewriters, and surveyor tools.  In a separate room there was a small library filled with books about the railroad.

The Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad still operates, giving visitors a chance to ride through the scenic countryside and over the Kate Shelley Bridge.  Outside, we could see the tracks and various locomotives and cars.

One of the working trains.

An old steam engine on display in front of the museum.
The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad Museum was interesting.  A true railroad buff might consider it fascinating, but I was personally more impressed by our next stop, the Boone County Historical Museum.

Part 3: Boone County Historical Museum is coming soon!

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