Article From the Spring 2002 Issue of


The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


The Mission of NYMT is to collect, preserve, display, interpret, and operate artifacts and information from the transportation history of Upstate New York and surrounding area, to delight, inform and educate our visitors about their transportation heritage. There are opportunities for our members to help out at the museum in every phase of this calling, but of special importance is staying open to the public. How can we "delight, inform and educate visitors" with our transportation heritage if we haven’t the staff to run the place? Take this little quiz to learn more about our operations and staffing needs (answers are on page 9):

1. How many people does it take to run the combined museums on a typical Sunday in the summer?

£ Two

£ Six

£ Eight

2. What percentage of the Sunday staff is paid?

£ 100%

£ 12%

£ None

3. Due to lack of staff, we are only open to the general public on Sundays. About what percentage of the rail and trolley museums in the U.S. and Canada are open only one day a week?

£ 75%

£ 30%

£ 10%

4. We augment our Sunday business with group tours by appointment during the week. About how many visitors did this bring us in 2001?

£ 750

£ 1,300

£ 3,200

5. The museums seek volunteers in which staff positions? (check all that apply):

£ Gift Shop sales

£ Ticket sales

£ Track car operations

£ Industry Depot guides

£ Model railroad operators

£ Officer of the Day

£ Crew callers

£ Weekday group tour guides

6. No advance qualifications are required…we provide the training.

£ True

£ False

7. Income from admissions and the Gift Shop accounted for approximately what part of total income in 2001?

£ less than 1/4

£ about 1/3

£ just over half

£ just under 3/4

£ almost all

8. Staff jobs are an interesting way to contribute to the museums and to enjoy meeting visitors from around the world.

£ True

£ False

How did you do? We hope you’ll want to join us—on Sundays or in weekday service. It’s fun and entertaining, and you’ll finish your day knowing you’ve helped us live up to the challenge of bringing transportation history to life for new friends of our museum. Give us a call and discover the fun and fulfillment that comes from serving the public at your museum.

How Do I Sign Up to Help?

There are several volunteer coordinators responsible for training and scheduling positions at the museums. They are the ones to call to start your participation. Give them a call, and they’ll take it from there:

Gift Shop and Ticket Desk………..…….Marie Miner (671-3589)

Track Car…………………...……....Jeremy Tuke (359-8944)

Model Railroad……………………..Dick Luchterhand (334-9228)

Depot Guide…………….…………..….….Don Shilling (381-3171)

Group Tour Guide…………….…..…….….Jim Dierks (473-5508)

Answers to Quiz

1. It takes eight volunteers to run the combined museums on a summer Sunday…ticket seller, Gift Shop sales person, model railroad operator, two track car operators, two depot guides, and an Officer of the Day. And this doesn’t allow any backup for rest periods, breakdowns, or the unexpected arrival of a large group.

2. Our museum is entirely run by volunteers; we have no paid staff.

3. At our last count, only 41 of the 430 rail and trolley museums listed in the "Guide to Tourist Railroads and Museums" are open to the public only one day a week.

4. In 2001, 1290 people paid to enter in weekday groups; this is over ¼ of our total paid attendance.

5. Bet you figured this one out! Yes, we need your help in all of these positions. We can also use you in repairs, mowing, exhibits, administration, archives…and the list goes on.

6. The answer is True…sign up now, and we’ll get you into the "spring training" schedule for Gift Shop, Ticket Sales, or Track Cars.

7. Besides being central to our mission to serve the public, staying open for visitors brings in much needed revenue. In 2001, admissions and Gift Shop accounted for 54% of total income.

8. You knew this one too, didn’t you! Besides the importance to NYMT, your help can be important to you as well. It’s fun!