Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

All Fun and Trains

AE_trainsMAH’s toy train exhibit takes spectators on a creative ride
Whether you are of the generation that grew up riding trains as your primary mode of transportation or you associate locomotives with Thomas the Tank Engine, trains evoke a carefree nostalgia that can make anyone feel like a kid again. After all, who wouldn’t get a kick out of the sound of the cheerful whistle, white steam puffing mightily from the steam engine and parallel tracks stretching on as far as the eye can see?        
For the fourth year running, The Museum of Art & History at The McPherson Center (MAH) has partnered with the Over the Hill Gang (the apropos name of the local Toy Train Operating Society’s Golden Gate Chapter ) to share the excitement and history of trains with a new generation. “As we get older and we die, where do our collections go if we don’t have young people coming along that are interested?” says Craig Miller, chief facilitator of the Over the Hill Gang and co-manager of the MAH exhibit. “We’re trying to infect them with this interest in toy trains. Maybe one out of a hundred kids will remember coming here and then when they get older they’ll think about it with their kids and start collecting too,” Miller surmises. event_ToyTrainsMiller’s love of toy trains began back in 1947 when his aunt sent him a Lionel Santa Fe for Christmas. Ever since then he has been a fan of toy trains, and his collection spans from the 1890s to present day. “My trains got lost over the years because there’s an in-between time as a teen where you lose interest because of girls, graduation, college,” Miller shares. “So my wife never knew about my love of trains until after we got married and I started getting back into collecting. She says she was cheated,” he says, a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
As a way to share their love of trains with the community, this free exhibit at the MAH will showcase members of the Over the Hill Gang’s vast collections of both O gauge and standard gauge toy trains. Tracks will be laid out over the entire bottom section of the museum, complete with tiny winter villages nestled amongst the tracks to further intrigue the imagination. Possibly the best part about the exhibit is that it is hands-on. Kids get to control the trains via remote control, and can blow the whistles and slam on the brakes to their heart’s content.  “The controllers on the new trains have computers in them and they’ll talk and they do all sorts of stuff,” explains Miller. “They’ll stop at the station, say ‘all aboard,’ and they blow the whistle. There’s a lot of action going on. It’s a lot of fun.” In addition to operating the toy trains, visitors can view displays of many historic train advertisements printed throughout the 20th century. A drawing will also be held, allowing one lucky child to make their own holiday memories when they unwrap a shiny new train set under their own Christmas tree.

See Toy Trains 2009 at The Museum of Art & History at The McPherson Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Jan. 3, 2010. Admission is free for the Toy Trains exhibit, and between Dec. 26 and 31 admission to the entire museum is also free. For more information about the exhibit, visit
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location