Friday, October 24, 2014

November 2014 Volunteer of the Month

The B&O Railroad Museum is pleased to recognize Garry Pace as the November 2014 Volunteer of the Month. Garry has been a volunteer for over 4 years and in this short time has made a big impact on the museum especially in the area of rail operations. Garry has just completed and is beginning training on new rules and procedures regarding rail operations. He is also in the process of obtaining his engineers' certification. You can find him with Railroad Engineer Dwayne McCoy switching cars, repairing track and locomotives or flagging the crossings. He and his wife also represented the museum at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroads Steel Wheels this past September. Thank you Garry for all of your time, talents, kindness, and love for history. We are so fortunate to have you on our team! We could not do it without you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mr. Masaki Ooshida, Director of The Railway Museum signs the affiliation agreement with Mr. Satoshi Seino, CEO of JR East looking on.
Mr. Kanji Yamanouchi, Minister of Economic Affairs, Embassy of Japan; Mayor of Baltimore, the Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; Mr. Courtney B. Wilson, Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum; Mr. Masaki Ooshida, Director of The Railway Museum; Mr. Satoshi Seino, CEO of JR East and Mr. Francis X. Smyth, Chairman B&O Railroad Museum Board of Directors.

On Friday September 5, 2014 the B&O Railroad Museum signed a formal affiliations agreement with The Railway Museum in Saitama City, Japan just North of Tokyo. A press conference was held in the B&O’s historic Roundhouse and was attended by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Director of Smithsonian Affiliations Harold Closter, B&O Board members, Executive Director Courtney Wilson and 12 delegates from Japan including the Minister for Economic Affairs and the Counselor of Transportation from the Embassy of Japan. Our Japanese guests also included the Director of The Railway Museum, the CEO of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and other representatives from the Museum and JR East. A celebratory luncheon was held following the ceremony where Maryland Secretary of State John McDonough presented a Governor’s Citation to Mr. Satoshi Seino, Chairman of JR East and Chairman of the East Japan Railway Culture Foundation commemorating the new relationship.

The sisterhood agreement will enable the two museums to exchange collections, expertise, technology, personnel, education programs and best practices. In addition both museums will launch a marketing campaign to draw visitors East to West and West to East.

A plaque commemorating the affiliation was unveiled at the ceremony. B&O Board Chair Francis Smyth and Executive Director Courtney Wilson will visit The Railway Museum in Saitama City in the Fall of 2015 to officially unveil a similar plaque in the Japanese museum.

The event was covered widely by the media in both the United States and Japan.

Time Fischer’s work Trains Unlimited in the 21st Century recognized both the B&O and The Railway Museum in the Top Ten Railroad Museums in the world.

Please visit The Railway Museum’s website for further information:
October 2014 Volunteer of the Month
Star Spangled Spectacular Booth at Baltimore Harbor's Rash Field

The B&O Railroad Museum is pleased to recognize all of the B&O volunteers and staff who worked at the B&O booth at Baltimore's Star Spangled Spectacular the weekend of September 12-14. Long hours were spent making pipe-cleaner star bubble wands and bath tub navy ships, but visitors loved making them with their children and they were a huge hit. When volunteers and staff were not helping out making these crafts, they were eagerly promoting the B&O Railroad Museum, Mount Clare Museum House, and all events planned from now to Spring of 2015. Volunteers were Carol & Dave Erhardt, Jim Kinnear, Patrick Kirn, Jim Maitland, Pete Schap, Judy & Ron Sperling, Al Stominski, Marty Yaker, & Ed Zehler. B&O staff were Amanda Barrett, Kathy Hargest, Jane Harper, Ben Kirn, Dana Kirn, Steve Madewell, Ashley Portrey, and Brad White.

Many thanks to all of you for sharing your time and talents! This marketing event for the Museums could not have been possible without all of your help! We are so fortunate to have you on our team!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

September 2014 Volunteer of the Month
Randy Richardson

The B&O Railroad Museum is pleased to recognize Randy Richardson as the September 2014 Volunteer of the Month!
Randy recently returned to volunteering at the B&O Railroad Museum. He was first here  for a few years before the Roundhouse roof collapse President's Day 2003. He is part of the Friday crew. His love for the B&O and its history is easy to see. He is always talking with visitors and spending as much time as needed with them to answer all their questions.
Randy, thank you for sharing your time, talents, kindness, and love for history. We are so fortunate to have you on our team! We could not do it without you!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

You're invited: Press Conference commemorating Sister Museum

The Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum,
cordially invite you to a Press Conference
commemorating the formal affiliation between
the B&O Railroad Museum, Baltimore

Friday, September 5, 2014
at the B&O Railroad Museum
901 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21223
11:00am: Press Conference

Attire: Business Dress
Free Parking

Saturday, August 16, 2014


On August 10, 2012, Victor Weisberger passed away at Kaiser Hospital in Honolulu. Victor served in the Air Force and was stationed in Hawaii during the Korean War. He worked as an insurance investigator, a middle school shop class teacher, First Aid/CPR instructor, safety officer for City & County of Honolulu and for the University of Hawaii, and finally he became the head of safety for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. Victor was also one of the Antique Automobile Club of America, Aloha Region’s Founding Fathers and the club’s newsletter editor for most of the club’s 35 years.

Victor was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 12, 1934. He was an only child. His father, Victor S. Weisberger, was an Austrian immigrant who was educated as a machinist and engineer, but he mostly worked as a wrought iron craftsman and as a teacher. (Notable: he  designed and built the world’s first wheeled shopping cart for the Piggly Wiggley grocery store chain and he worked on the restoration of Williamsburg, VA .) Victor’s mother, Marie Eisenbrandt, was from a well established Maryland family. She graduated from Goucher College and worked as writer for several local and national magazines. (Notable: Her father was a successful high-wheel bike racer in the 1890s; he sold bikes and later boats. In 1903, he was offered the exclusive rights to sell the new Ford automobiles in Baltimore, but he declined: “The horseless carriage is just a fad!”)

The Great Depression was hard on the Weisberger family and in 1938 his father took a high school teaching position on the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation at Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Victor enjoyed his early childhood in South Dakota. My favorite story was how he, at the age of five, decided to start a road-side business selling cactus to passing cars. He gathered cactus from the hill behind his house and set up a makeshift stand in front of his house. Unfortunately there was cactus everywhere—and he lived on a dead end street! His father’s teaching position ended shortly after the outbreak of war and family returned to Baltimore in 1942.

Victor attended an all-boys public high school in Baltimore, so girls were in short supply for the thin redheaded young man. Victor spent his free time riding his bicycle, later a motor scooter, and working at part-time jobs. He did have several older friends with cars. One friend owned a 1949 MG TC and an 1935 Auburn Phaeton. Another friend had an early 1909 Ford Model T. Victor quickly developed a serious passion for MGs and Model Ts. He bought his beloved 1914 Ford Model T in 1953, when he was only 19 years old. At that time a “real antique” car had to have brass trim and gas lights. The car was a running chassis with the body removed and no interior or top. It needed a near complete restoration.

In 1954 he joined the Air Force, and after technical training as a mechanic, he was stationed in Hawaii. Victor drove several “beaters” around the island for a while, but eventually his parents loaned him some money so he could buy a nice used MG. He wanted a MG TC, but the only one available was painted pink, so he bought a low-mileage 1953 MG TD. He met his future wife, Beth Millhouse, at a University of Hawaii dance. She was a teacher in Florida who came to Hawaii for a vacation. They had a two-week romance, which mostly consisted of driving around the island in his MG TD and stopping at beautiful beaches for a swim. Shortly after Beth left the islands, Victor completed his enlistment obligation and was discharged. He shipped his MG TD to San Francisco. He and his father drove the MG TD across the country to Maryland—nearly without incident.

Victor attended a business college and held several sales jobs. He bought a new 1960 Fiat 500. After about a year of writing letters to Beth, one day he rather directly announced that he was coming down to Florida for a visit. On a Friday afternoon he got into his diminutive Fiat 500 and drove down to Florida to see her. At the end of their first date in Florida, Victor impulsively proposed marriage.

Victor and Beth were soon married and moved into an apartment near John Hopkins University. One Saturday afternoon Victor said to Beth that he was going to go to his garage. She asked, “You have a garage?” To which he said, “Yes.” She paused and asked, “What is in your garage?” He quickly responded, “My 1914 Ford Model T, of course.” To which Beth exclaimed, “You never told me you had a garage and a Model T!(?)” Victor calmly replied, “You never asked me if I had a garage or a Ford Model T.”

Victor worked for Retail Credit as an insurance investigator and they started a family. During his free time he worked restoring his 1914 Model T. By 1968 Victor had two sons and the Model T was restored. Beth always wanted to move to Hawaii, so that year she finally convinced him to move to Hawaii—for just two years. The “plan” was for him to finish his degree at the University of Hawaii while she worked as an elementary school teacher—as you know, they never left Hawaii. He missed Maryland but she was very happy!

The Model T was left behind in his garage and the family drove west in a 1966 Studebaker station wagon. After Victor graduated from the University of Hawaii, and started teaching, he bought a 1929 Ford Model A Roaster. In 1977 he was part of a small group of local antique car enthusiasts who formed the Aloha Region of AACA .  In 1989 he sold the Model A and finally brought his 1914 Model T to Hawaii. After Beth’s passing in 1993, there were few things that he enjoyed more than sharing his Model T with people—nearly everyone he knew has been for a ride around Kailua in his 1914 Model T.

Victor was always a kind, friendly and very generous person. He loved all animals, especially cats. He supported many charities, including: museums, environmental groups and organizations which promote peace and social justice. Victor is survived by his sons, Fred and Jim, and two grand children, Sara and Chris. Victor is greatly missed by all who knew him.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

August 2014 Volunteer of the Month
Jerry Donaldson

The B&O Railroad Museum recognizes Jerry Donaldson as this month's Volunteer of the Month.
Jerry has been volunteering at the B&O Railroad Museum Ellicott City Station since 2009. Every week he assists site manager, Tom Hane with visitors and groups. He is a highly valued team member at Ellicott City Station especially since he helps keep the HO model train layout efficiently operating. Thanks you Jerry for all of your time, talents, kindness and love for history! We are so fortunate to have you as part of our team. We could not do it without you!