San Diego Model Railroad Museum. Courtesy photo

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum started its 40th Anniversary Capital Campaign, aiming to raise $40,000 in the next two months to commemorate opening to the public for the first time nearly 40 years ago.

Additionally, the museum is collaborating with other Southern California museums to create an immersive holiday experience for its guests, which will debut on Friday, Nov. 20.

2021 will mark the milestone and funds raised from this campaign will aid museum staff in furthering its mission through the economic and operational challenges presented by the pandemic.

“The support of our museum members, donors, and railroad modelers has been invaluable as we adapted to this trying year,” said Executive Director Anthony Ridenhour. “We seized the new opportunities presented to us in 2020, and we will further grow in them thanks to the generous contributions to the capital campaign.”

The museum will continue the expansion of its digital presence and educational programming to showcase model railroading as a comprehensive tool to teach the real-life applications of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (or STEAM). Julia McMeans, the museum’s education director, has designed the museum’s educational programs to “support and enrich what students are learning in school,” such as using fractions to create scale models and using physics and geometry to understand arches.

The funds raised will help McMeans continue to offer and build on these programs through distance learning. Donations to the 40th Anniversary Capital Campaign are accepted at sdmrm.org/donate or via the museum’s GoFundMe.

To celebrate the holiday season, the museum’s Pacific Beach Model Railroad Club Room will feature two new installations starting Nov. 20, in partnership with two Southern California museums. The Carolwood Pacific: Walt’s Magical Railroad is presented in collaboration with the Los Angeles-based Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn. The exhibit tells the story of Walt Disney’s love of the railroad and how this lifelong passion influenced his famous works. Guests will see a variety of historical artifacts on loan from Walt’s Barn, some of which were owned by Walt.

The SDMRM Christmas tree will be adorned by the Jewels of the Season, a unique collection of intricate, handcrafted ornaments that have become a holiday “must-see” at the Timken Museum of Art for more than 20 years. Jewels of the Season features precious gems, sequins, stones, and filigree collected from around the world by the notable San Diego artisans, Florence Hord and Elizabeth Schlappi.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door or on the museum’s website. There is no separate fee to enjoy Jewels of the Season or The Carolwood Pacific: Walt’s Magical Railroad.

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