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March 3, 2010 > Train collection examines transcontinental railroad

Train collection examines transcontinental railroad

Submitted By Diane Daniel

Anyone who loves trains will want to see Cal State East Bay's (CSUEB) first-ever model train display in the C.E. Smith Museum of Anthropology opening March 5.

Dozens of never-before-displayed model trains - some handmade - will be included in, "All Aboard! The Impact of Trains on American Culture."

At the center of the exhibition are selected items from a 500-piece collection of antique tinplate toy trains and HO models assembled over a 93-year lifetime by model railroading pioneer Richard "Dick" Wheeler of Monrovia, CA. "This is an unusual collection for our museum, but it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. It's extraordinary for a collection like this to be made available to the general public," said George R. Miller, anthropology professor and museum director. "Creating this exhibit has challenged the students to turn the anthropological lens on objects of their own culture which has produced some insightful results."

Using the construction of the transcontinental railroad as a foundation, the exhibition of Lionel trains, Pullman porters, Harvey Girls, and trains in the media, among others, will illustrate how trains played an essential role in putting America on track.

"The infrastructure of the American railroads is like the ancient Roman and Incan road systems," said Marjorie Rhodes-Ousley, museum associate director. "It allowed the U.S. to be united, both geographically and with a common purpose."

The exhibition is designed to be appreciated at several levels, from that of a child, to the true train and/or history buff interested in America's industrial era, United States history, and California history. Museum information is at

CSUEB welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodation upon request. Please notify event sponsor at (510) 885-7414 at least two weeks in advance if accommodation is needed. Campus parking is $7 per vehicle per day, Monday-Friday.

Train collection exhibit

Opening Reception
Friday, March 5
4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Exhibit on display:
March 9-June 11

Closed March 20-28, March 31 and May 29-31

Meiklejohn Hall 4047
(south side of the campus)
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward
(510) 885-7414

Free Admission
Campus parking is $7 per vehicle per day, Monday-Friday

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