‘Hayes Train Special’ chugs into holiday season

Dec 17, 2019 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Image of man and children admiring a model train

The “Hayes Train Special” will celebrate the holidays at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums through Jan. 5.

The “Hayes Train Special” model train display has returned to the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums to delight visitors of all ages throughout the holiday season. The display will be open through Jan. 5.

The intricate, multi-tiered display winds several trains through a Victorian winter wonderland reminiscent of President Rutherford B. Hayes’ day. This year, the trains will span three rooms and go through tunnels between the rooms. There will be six trains, some not normally used in the display.

Interactive buttons allow visitors to be a part of the special exhibit. They can lower the crossing gates, run one of the trains, sent a lamplighter up to his post and more.

“When you’re little, trains are big and loud and fast,” said Kevin Moore, associate curator of artifacts. “They inspire awe. But even when you’re older, you still remember how you felt as a little kid when you saw the train go by. I think our model railroad display is a special place where old and young can come together in a shared experience of wonder and nostalgia.”

Displayed on the walls around the “Hayes Train Special” will be original paintings and artwork by Bob Lorenz, railroad artist and photographer, of Fremont.

Lorenz has worked in commercial art and helped design five steam-powered trains. He served as the staff artist for the American Freedom Train, which toured the country in 1975-76, and his paintings of trains have been displayed around the country.

Another new addition to the “Hayes Train Special” this year are mythical creature miniatures hidden throughout the display and a scavenger hunt for kids involving these miniatures. These additions of bigfoot, frogman and other creatures are to help get visitors excited for the upcoming exhibit “Myths and Legends,” which opens Friday, Feb. 28, and will feature legendary creatures and spooky tales from Ohio.

The “Hayes Train Special” will be open from Nov. 29 to Jan. 5. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday with the exception of holiday hours and closings. Access to the “Hayes Train Special” is included with regular admission. Hayes Presidential members are admitted for free.

The 12-by-24-foot display has been a tradition at the Hayes Presidential since 1994. It is sponsored by Croghan Colonial Bank and the Gordon W. Knight Family.

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