8 March 2011
Group Needs Help to Help Special People
Terrie Hyson is stationmaster at the Memory Lane Railway Museum in Middleton. He and the
Future View board of directors that oversees the museum need more volunteers to keep the program running.
Middleton Nova Scotia - Volunteers at the Memory Lane Railway Museum in Middleton are hoping new
members will come aboard and help them build strong connections to the future.
Janet Kroetch, acting chair of the Future View board that oversees the museum, said despite the devastating blow last year of losing Ron Johnson the group's
founder and director, some exciting plans have been coming together at the train station.
In recent months the freight shed has been refurbished and is now hosting the weekly Farmers Market. The train station museum is also partnering with Middleton
Regional High School and bringing students over a few times a week to work at the museum.
Kroetch says that while the museum has provided a secure and welcoming work environment for its longtime employees Terry Hyson, Margaret Wilkins, Thurston
Burton, and Donald Moores, there's a new generation of young people almost ready to graduate from high school with no local employment available to them.
She hopes that little by little volunteers can help bring a new sheltered workshop to the train station and offer a brighter future to those students.
Finding a Purpose
As a parent, Kroetch said she wonders where her autistic son will find his place and purpose. She added that in the past, parents of special needs children
often kept them home, sheltered from the rest of the community.
While these intentions were intended to protect the children, it also meant they were left without a safe place to live after the parents passed away. Ron
Johnson founded the train station museum nearly 20 years ago with the intention of providing a place where special people could be seen for their gifts, rather
than their deficits.
Before Johnson assumed responsibility for the train station, it was a derelict eyesore at the edge of town. Kroetch added that the train station crew
transformed the broken building into a visitor's attraction.
Lots of Visitors
It's estimated that about 5,000 visitors from all over the world stopped in last year to tour Memory Lane making it a significant tourist attraction for the
town. Its extensive collection of Dominion Atlantic Railway memorabilia and a collection of vintage items such as old farm tools, model railways, historical
books, and manuscripts appeal to train buffs and a wide range of people.
Many of these lone items were either donated or salvaged and together they create a fascinating collection for people of all ages. Kroetch said that Johnson's
dream was to continue transforming the train station museum property and eventually create a community garden with a picnic area.
In time they hope to establish a sheltered workshop to provide a place for special people to find their unique talents.
No Place to Go
"The train station has always been a place for people with no place to go," she said. "It gives them a place and a purpose. They are passionate
about going to work and their passion has built a unique museum here for people to visit."
Kroetch added while they're very clear on their dream for the future, they need help getting there. In the past Johnson managed the affairs of the museum and
helped facilitate the daily routines at the station.
Future View, the board that oversees the station, needs new board members to assist in writing grant proposals and acting as liaisons to the community. The
group also needs volunteers to help coordinate and oversee the day-to-day operations of the museum.
"The train station has become an asset, bringing people to town," she said. "Our people care about that place because it's their place. By
helping them keep the museum going, they will in turn help the community because it's the crew's passion that keeps that place vital."
The Future View board is meeting on 30 Mar 2011 and is hoping interested people will come out to find out more about the projects. For more information contact
Janet Kroetch at 825-0526.