St. Thomas Ontario - Visitors to the Elgin County Railway Museum will soon be able to experience more railway heritage.
For more than twelve years, the organization has been unable to realize the full potential of its magnificent facility, because of the deteriorating condition of the century old concrete paneled roof that is original to the building.
The Museum, located in the former 1913 Michigan Central Locomotive shop, currently has only 30 percent of its available floor space accessible to the public for safety reasons.
This limits visitors' access to displays, and to the impressive collection of rolling stock and railway equipment.
Full replacement of the concrete roof with a modern metal system is needed.
The organization has broken the project into sections, mirroring the stepped roof A-line of the building, to make the project and fund raising more manageable.
This fall, the Museum plans to replace the roof over the centre section of its heritage building, which will increase the publicly accessible floor space by 35 percent, to a total of 65 percent of the extensive 52,000 square foot facility.
This will open up an additional 18,200 square feet of cultural space that the Museum can offer to the community for programming, while increasing space available for exhibitions.
This project will improve conditions for the protection of the largest artifacts the Museum has been entrusted to preserve and display, and support an improved environment for volunteers to work on rail equipment maintenance, restoration, and exhibit construction.
"The public and tourists the Museum attracts will benefit from an improved visitor experience, as their distance from our impressive rolling stock collection of coaches, cabooses, and engines will be significantly reduced", says Executive Director, Dawn Miskelly.
"They will finally get the up-close experience so many of them have been asking for."
The total budget for the project is anticipated to be $654,250.
The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund will contribute $327,125 in matching funds to the project, and the Museum's fund raising efforts and contributions towards the project are $147,250 to date.
According to the Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, "Cultural spaces like the Elgin County Railway Museum bring people of all back grounds together. By supporting the renovation of cultural infrastructure, we are creating jobs, strengthening communities, and putting arts and culture within reach of all Canadians."
The organization will actively continue fund raising the remaining $179,875 for roof replacement through to its completion.
Donations can be made through the Railway Museum's Managed Fund at the Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation, online at www.ecrm5700.org, or by calling or visiting the Railway Museum.
About the Elgin County Railway Museum
Established in 1988, and incorporated in 1989, the Elgin County Railway Museum is located in the historic 1913 Michigan Central Railroad Locomotive Shops at 225 Wellington Street, St. Thomas, Ontario.
It is a not-for-profit, charitable organization with an elected Board of Directors, which welcomes more than 6,500 visitors annually.
Hours: Victoria Day through Labour Day - Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-16:00 - Saturdays 12:00-16:00.
Admission: $7 per adult, $3 per child, under 3-years-old are admitted free.