New Library and Archives Building

Project Sponsors: Jim Schantz, Karen Dooks, and Ed Ramsdell

Fundraising Goal for the next 5 Years: $1,500,000.00
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.


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 over 80 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 – not just vehicles but books, publications, and artifacts available to people of all ages in a year-round facility. 

The Proposed Building:

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 this building can be placed. Fundraising to hire a Project Manager, prepare the building site, and hiring the engineers and architects needed to design the building  and surrounding areas will follow before construction can begin. This building project will be one of the most complex Seashore Trolley Museum has every undertaken, but we are driven and ready to begin this journey with you on our side.

One of 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 949 to make this 20+ year dream a reality!

Donate to Fund 949