BRADFORD — The Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum is getting ready for the 2016 season. The museum will be open from April 2 through Oct. 29 except on holidays.
The exhibits are being changed to display Railway Express Agency and Railroad Postal Office history. The season will start with the Salute to the Railroaders and a program, Mail by Rail on April 2.
This year is the 150th anniversary of Bradford. The museum wishes to remember this occasion by featuring the role the railroads played in delivery of the U.S. Mail. Bradford was named after postal clerk Thomas Bradford and had postal routes through the junction.
The museum will recognize the past and current railroaders who attend the April 2 museum opening. Gary Levitt will be the featured speaker. Levitt is a member of the Ohio Local History Alliance and curator of the U.S. Postal Museum at Delphos, Ohio. Bradford High School Students will be participating with local history.
The museum will also again be hosting Dining By Rail on May 7 at the Catholic Rectory on Walnut Street in Bradford. The dinner features Chef Michael James and authentic railroad dining car service entrees. The dinner and silent auction supports exhibit improvements at the museum. This is a reservation-only event. Reservation must be made by April 30 to ensure a seat at the table. Reservations are available at the museum or though the website at www.bradfordrrmuseum.org.
Funds from the dinner and silent auction are used for exhibit improvements at the museum and will be added to the ongoing capital campaign to complete the transformation of the bank into the railroad museum exhibit hall.
The museum is in the home stretch to raise the needed funds to qualify for a $275,000 capital appropriation from the Ohio General Assembly. The museum is asking the community to contribute to this preservation project. The museum is in need of the last $50,000 to have a fully funded project and start the exhibit project in June. The State of Ohio is investing in the museum complex to bring heritage tourism to the Miami and Darke County area.
The museum will be hosting its annual Railroad Heritage Festival on June 4. This is a daylong event with tower tours, telegraph school and activities for the rail fan. Train vendors, model layouts and slide presentations will be presented. There will be a puppet show for the children in the museum at 1p.m. The Bid and Buy will feature silent auction items for rail fans. There will be a train ride for the children around the park and games to win prizes.
The Run for the Rails will be held on Oct. 8. Cash prizes will go to the top runners. This year, a fun run is being added. Details will be available at the museum and through the website. All proceeds raised will be used for capital improvements at the museum.
The Wine and Art auction will be Sept. 17. Each year, a new local artist is featured. Ginger Godfrey’s collection was featured in 2014 and Butch Clark’s wood carving collection was featured in 2015. The wine selections are from the Winery at Versailles. Information will be updated on the website and at the museum as the dates approach.
The museum won an award from the Ohio History Alliance in October 2015 for its Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train 150th Remembrance. The goal is to bring another award winning program to the community this April.