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A model holiday

Train exhibit at miSci an intergenerational favorite

— “They always try to add something new,” Whitaker said.

Over the years, items such as an amusement park with Santa riding a roller coaster and a pair of children ice skating on a pond have been added.

“It’s always been one of our most popular events,” Hunter said. “It’s wonderful to see families enjoy the model trains together. We see grandparents bring their grandchildren and then tour them around the galleries pointing out objects, such as some of the first television and radios, and be able to share memories of what it was like when these technologies were brand new … these experiences are a great springboard to exploring new technologies on display throughout miSci.”

Hunter said the trains are a major inspiration to get kids interested in science and engineering.

“They start with trains and move on to erector sets or something where they can actually start building themselves,” he said.

The model trains have been operating through the Upstate Train Associates since 1991. The group is an organization that was established in 1969 made up of model train enthusiasts.

“They have been helping up for years and years. They love trains and are happy to display their trains here,” Whitaker said.

The display takes about a week to set up.

“There are a variety of different trains and locomotives from different eras and different rail lines. The New York Central and Santa Fe are the more popular ones,” Hunter said.

Hunter added that there are three sets of tracks so three locomotives can be going at one time.

In addition to the model trains, this year’s holiday exhibit also features toys most kids don’t have at home such as a walk-on piano, oversized building blocks and a variety of other science and technology-related toys.

“We thought that since people were coming to see the trains, we would have hands-on things that they can do,” said Mac Sudduth, director at miSci. “That’s part of the new miSci, to provide the hands-on opportunities to explore and learn by doing.”

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