New Library, Archives, and Exhibit Hall

Project Sponsors: Jim Schantz, Karen Dooks, Rob Drye, Bob Grindrod, Jim Mackell, Randy Stahl and Sue Ellen Stavrand

Fundraising Goal for the next 5 Years: $3,500,000.00
Questions for the Project Sponsors? Want to get more involved in the project? Contact them here. 

 

Concept drawing of Seashore's exhibit hall

A concept drawing of the original vision to build an Exhibit Hall and adjoining Library & Archives, from the early 2000s.

Introduction

Transportation helped build America’s cities. In 1860s, when horse-powered street cars were proliferated from coast to coast cities could grow larger and businesses flourish. When electric propulsion as developed starting in the late 1880s, cities exploded along the new trolley lines.

For 82 years the Seashore Trolley Museum has been preserving generations of urban transportation vehicles and using them to give visitors authentic period experiences. The museum has built a 1.5 mile electrified railroad—on the right of way of an original interurban trolley line—and from May to December gives visitors an opportunity to experience first-hand rides on century-old street and interurban electric cars. Currently most of this collection is housed in six buildings but with only three accessible to the public, the others being high density storage structures.

Our goal now is to make all of the aspects of our collections – more vehicles, books and publications, and artifacts available to people of all ages in a year-round facility, and at the same time provide top-quality covered storage for approximately 40 cars. The current vision is to build two buildings that are adjacent to each other and joined by a walkway; one to house our rolling collection, and one to house our library and archives, with additional exhibit and event space. 

Interior concept drawing of a new Exhibit Hall for trolleys

A concept drawing of the original vision to build an Exhibit Hall and adjoining Library & Archives, from the early 2000s.

 

Main Display Facility

The museum has an active and widely-respected vehicle restoration program. The new facility will present many of the restored gems to the public – while still permitting the cars to be easily pulled out to give visitors rides – the best way to experience them.

The degree of craftsmanship on 120-year old cars is remarkable. But for museum visitors to fully appreciate these masterworks proper spacing and illumination is needed. Prominently displayed in this climate-controlled, year-round exhibit hall will be The Narcissus, the finest example of electric railway equipment to run in the State of Maine, which is well along in a $ 1,000,000 restoration program.

 

Events

The facility will be highly desirable for local organizations and businesses to host educational events, meetings, weddings, and other events, providing one of the most attractive and largest such venues in our fast-growing region. And such events will generate operating revenue for the museum. It will also host museum meetings, educational programs, and special exhibits. Trolleys residing in the facility can be moved in or out or repositioned to provide open space or a wonderful backdrop for any events.

Kitchen facilities for onsite food preparation or for use by a caterer will broaden the type of event that can be hosted there.

A large multi-purpose room will support educational and historical lectures, video presentations, and classroom activities for internal or external audiences. It will be ideal for the museum’s internal training programs for operating rail equipment or for serving as docents.

 

Library & Archives

Old, white house that serves as Seashore Trolley Museum's library

The campus’ current library and archives is also one of our New Direction priorities, as the building is in disrepair. Our library and archives collection has already outgrown the building, and desperately needs a new home.

The museum has a rich and varied collection of photos, artifacts, and published material – including the corporate master set of McGraw Hill’s Street Railway Journal, the industry bible. In general, the geographic scope of the collection is worldwide, beginning in the 1830’s, narrowing its focus to East of the Mississippi River after 1980, and narrowing still further after the year 2000 to the New England region.

From blueprints, books, films, government documents, maps, negatives, periodicals, timetables, slides, technical drawings and more, our archives collection has it all. We have 8,000+ books, 1,000+ blueprints, 20+shelf feet of photographs and several thousand slides–our collection measures over 2000 linear feet and grows nearly daily as we receive invaluable donations from members and supporters.

Most of this rare material is stored today in less-desirable, non-climate controlled spaces, but is being actively catalogued and preserved by a dedicated group on volunteers for the day we are able to build a new home for this invaluable collection.

 

Support our Fundraising Campaign!

Funding will first be used to survey our campus to help us pick out the space that buildings of this size can be placed. Fundraising to hire a Project Manager, prepare the building site, and hiring the engineers and architects needed to design the building, railroad yard, and surrounding areas will follow before construction can begin. These building projects will be the most complex Seashore Trolley Museum has every undertaken, but we are driven and ready to begin this journey with you on our side.

The most ambitious out of all of our New Direction Strategic Plan fundraising priorities, this new structure can be a reality, with your support! Donate to Fund 953 to make this 20+ year dream a reality!

Donate to Fund 953