September 2006 Presidentís Report

By Ira Pollack

††††††††††† This month Iíd like to review some of the things that have happened at the Museum, and also focus on some of our goals for the future.

††††††††††† The beginning of our season was spent with a lot of preparation for the Little Engine That Could event. Our yard crews and staff spent endless hours working on our equipment and facility getting it ready for this new event. Many, many hours of volunteer time were expended running the event. Unfortunately, the Little Engine event didnít meet our expectations as far as ticket sales were concerned. We thought it had the potential for significant financial profit. Although it had intangible positive aspects, the Museum actually lost money on the event due to the amount of overhead required. Also, the weather was poor throughout. I feel that the Museum had to try this as a new event, and certainly we did pull together and work as a team, all for a common goal. In the future, though, I think we should try to balance this labor intensive type of event with our work force potential. Our volunteers really worked hard over those weekends, and those guests attending had an enjoyable time, but the end result was disappointing.

††††††††††† We held some other smaller events in the yard mid-season with mixed results. One was the Jeep/Rail Rendezvous, which was a popular auxiliary event last year. Another was a new event this year - a concert to raise money for our ever-present track work. The concert, especially, did not meet expectations. I would like to thank those that did attend and contribute to these causes.

††††††††††† We must continue to think of new ideas and events, and think of new ways of raising money to continue our growth. Obviously some of these ideas will work, and others will not. However we must keep trying to attract new people with their new ideas. Our very popular Pumpkin Patch, Santa, and Easter Bunny events started out as new ideas once. We have continued to hold these events on an annual basis ever since. Please let me know of any ideas you have about possible events for next yearís season. An added attraction type of event does not necessarily have to be railroad related. If people come to the DRM because of the added attraction, they will also see our Museum and what we have to offer.

††††††††††† Now that the season is almost over we still have many goals to see through. Restoration work has progressed with our three main projects: the RPO, the RS11 #1402, and the NYC caboose. Iím very pleased to see our members come forward and take responsibilities for these large projects. We still have major issues before us though. Track work is still waiting in the yard, and I am hoping that we can proceed with tie replacement in the very near future at the turntable and lead switch. There are always multiple projects and things to do at the Museum.

††††††††††† We must solve some of the outstanding problems within our infrastructure. We must continue to promote and market ourselves to the outside world. To date no one has come forward to help with this as a full-time position. I still maintain advertising is one of the important tools in making a successful museum. There are still many other challenges that I face as President, and as always need you help. Always feel free to talk with me about any kind of solution that you may have for our problems. Itís hard for me to list all of our challenges in this short column, but I feel we can solve them one at a time. Most importantly, we must work together as one team.

††††††††††† Thank you all for your service to the Museum this season.