The Porterville Historical Museum takes great pride in presenting the Annual Toy and Model Train and Show. Running now through January 9, 2016, visitors can see the largest model train exhibit in all of Tulare County.
This is the 32nd year that the museum has featured this spectacular display. With 22 different trains completely set up and running, it is a true delight for both children and adults. Walking into the exhibit room, the sound and sight of these toy trains will instantly engage the senses of yesteryear. Each model train is surrounded by towns with bridges, trees, and other fascinating miniature landscape images.
This year the show has doubled in size, with more than 180 feet of 0-gauge track alone. There are also HO, N and Z-gauge tracks, each running a uniquely-themed model train. Another addition to the exhibit is the G-gauge Garden Train which is designed to run outside. In addition, there is a tiny Nano Train, encased in glass dome. The longest train, winding around the top of the exhibit room, is a replica of the actual Napa Valley Train, still running today.
Many of the model trains are owned by the museum and others are on loan from people in the community. Dr. Don Stover has been in charge of setting up the exhibits this year. He has spent countless hours replacing broken or damaged track, so that each model train can run at its optimum level. Every piece displayed required intricate attention.
“There’s no way I could have done this without the help of my eight special helpers,” Stover said. “We spent many evenings cleaning and prepping each of these wonderful toys.”
He gives thanks to the local service clubs and private citizens who donated necessary funds to continue the annual show. Funds are still needed and all donations are gratefully accepted.
Curator Sheila Pickerell is a wealth of knowledge about every artifact found within the museum. From antique farm equipment to ancient Yokut baskets, the museum is a local treasure trove of years gone by.
The Porterville Museum is located at 257 D. Street in Porterville and is open from 10am-4pm, Thursday through Saturday.