Visit - Annual Model Railroad Display at Dolley Madison Library

Photographer Unknown


Annual Display at Dolley Madison Library

By Nicholas Kalis

Once again, my stepson Alexander celebrated November is Model Railroading Month by setting up a model display at the Dolley Madison Library, 1244 Oak Ridge Avenue, McLean, Virginia. As my wife Kate was retrieving his train display, one boy stood mesmerized by these model trains being put away.

Dolley Madison librarians reported, as they have done in previous years, that Alexander’s display was very popular. Librarians regularly observed children standing spell-bound at this display in their library lobby. I can attest that once when my stepson was installing his trains, he was mobbed by about four boys who were uncontrollably excited at the sight of Alexander’s trains – actually pawing his trains.

Many if not all libraries have such display areas for which they seek rotating exhibitors throughout the year. At Dolley Madison, one can reserve their display case even months in advance. Dolley Madison displays are to remain in place for one month at which time one must remove one’s display items for the next exhibitor. Not to fear, the display cases are locked, so pilferage is unlikely – though no one would fault one for leaving one’s most expensive locomotive at home. The lobby display case at Dolley Madison is well lite so no need to provide for one’s own lighting.

Alexander has been installing trains, varied magazines, and structures for three of the past four years – he forgot one year. Did I say he started this when he was about five years old? And yes, his parents did help him. He has included a copy of NMRA Magazine in each display. One year he made a plea for new members and even included the phone number of a Potomac Division Superintendent.

This would be a good project for a single Potomac Division member or perhaps one of our teams. November would probably be the best month to reserve a display area as it is November is Model Railroading Month and it is near to Christmas when people might just buy some trains for their children or even spouse. Include some modeling magazines, some prototype magazines, perhaps a newsletter or magazine from a railroad historical history; add to that some freight and passenger cars, a few engines; a structure or two, perhaps some tracks and voila – one’s display is done. Don’t forget to include some message about model railroading month and perhaps mention of our NMRA’s web site so that folks can obtain further information. If one is adventurous, one can even include one’s own telephone number – up to one’s sense of adventure.