A child’s favorite toy, a teenager’s favorite memory, an adult’s favorite hobby. These can be summed up in a single word: trains.
Once a thriving railroad town in the 1850s, Danville remains the hub for many railroad memories, retirees and generations of railway history. “All Aboard!,” the Community Arts Center’s newest exhibit, will bring together every aspect of the railway, from shoveling coal to learning the hobo language.
Danville’s unique railway history was the spark for an exhibit that will give both children and adults a lifetime worth of memories.
While “All Aboard!” will feature a functioning O-scale electric train set, the O. Winston Link photography is one of, if not the most, phenomenal parts of the exhibit. O. Winston Link is a nationally-recognized photographer of steam engines whose work chronicles the end of America’s steam era. He recognized there was one great problem in shooting photos of locomotives — lighting.
Link went on to custom-build the flash equipment he required for his large-scale railroad photos, which he preferred to shoot at night. This photography exhibit makes its first appearance in Danville while on loan from the Link Museum, an entire museum dedicated to O. Winston Link in Roanoke, Va.
This year’s blockbuster exhibit, sponsored by Danville Pediatrics, features a special focus on history and the arts. History inspires the arts and the Community Arts Center aims to show them in conjunction through cultural elements that involve doing as well as seeing. The hands-on activities include a graffiti boxcar, a firebox to shovel coal, a wooden railroad fun zone, and a train orchestra.
Brandon Long, programming director at the Community Arts Center, traveled to many train museums throughout Kentucky and surrounding areas to gather ideas for the “All Aboard!” exhibit.
“‘All Aboard!’ features something for everyone. ... Older kids will enjoy the computer train simulator but will probably not want to play with the wooden railroad,” Long said. “Younger kids may enjoy shoveling coal but will get frustrated with the track-laying exercise.”
All three floors of the Community Arts Center are dedicated to the exhibit, giving children and adults plenty to see and do. The basement houses the graffiti boxcar, a scaled-down model of a boxcar that visitors will be able to “tag” with tempera paint; the boxcar build, an activity where kids will be able to practice their graffiti designs while also making a nice three-dimensional souvenir they can take with them; and the hobo — one of the more interesting aspects of the exhibit. The visitors will meet an actor portraying a hobo who will disclose information about his or her lifestyle, covering everything from hopping trains to hobo codes.
Perhaps the second floor will capture the most attention. It features scenes of the contemporary railway shownthrough modern railway photography, a train simulator, and a train orchestra. The Farmers National Bank Gallery is transformed into a massive wooden railroad play set. Children are encouraged to touch, play, and share this experience with their friends.
While upstairs seems all fun and play, the Lockhart Gallery will feature a small exhibit featuring two of the railroad's biggest legends — John Henry and Casey Jones.
“All Aboard!” covers everything from reading, and arts and humanities, to music and social studies. It’s mounted in an atmosphere of learning and fun, educating children and adults, and keeping the railroad legacy alive.
Jenny Jacoby is director of marketing for the Community Arts Center.
Train- and railway-themed exhibit
Jan. 5-Feb. 27
Community Arts Center
Cost per person: $6/adults; $4/students, kids 18 and under, and seniors 65 and over; $3/field trips.
To purchase advance tickets, contact the CAC at (859) 236-4054. All proceeds of the exhibit benefit the CAC.
Special exhibit hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday.
For more details and to find out how to schedule a group tour or school field trip, contact the Community Arts Center by e-mail at email@example.com or at (859) 236-4054, or log on to www.communityartscenter.net for further details.