Trolley Museum Open House

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If you have ever thought of repairing or operating a trolley car, giving an educational tour, or coordinating a program, stop down on Saturday, February 2nd from 1:00-3:00pm to meet some of our active volunteers and find out if the museum is for you. Shore Line Trolley Museum, 17 River St, East Haven CT 06512, or call (203) 467-6927 or you may also send an email to office@shorelinetrolley.org.

Motorman: The motorman sounds his gong twice. He gives a small brass handle a twist with the right hand and cranks a massive control apparatus clockwise with the left. His bright yellow trolley, of 1904 vintage, starts forward down a country trolley line which has been running continuously since 1900. Don’t let the name scare you away, this could be you with five days of training at our motorman annual training program. And you don’t have to be a man, either!

No prior experience is required, as the training course will provide complete ground-up, hands-on instruction in the safe and proper operation of trolley equipment and visitor interaction. Volunteer operators come from all walks of life and work varied schedules. Men and women from as nearby as down the block to as far away as New York, Boston, Chicago and beyond are among our group of trolley operators.  Some contribute dozens of days each year, others just a few, but either way the net contribution to the museum is significant, as can be the benefit to you as you learn new skills and meet new and interesting people.

Daunting as it may seem, by the conclusion of the course, you will be able to start and stop a trolley car smoothly and accurately. You'll be able to position 20 tons of wood and steel within a few inches of a similarly massive object. You'll understand switches, overhead wires, signals, and the railway rulebook. And you'll be able to stand in front of a group of people and make an enjoyable presentation on the history of the trolley, and the impact it had on everyday living.  

Vehicle Collection Maintenance
: Volunteers in the shop department maintain and restore our vintage vehicles. They perform routine and corrective maintenance on the fleet, such as checking and lubricating bearings and journals, inspecting and servicing controllers, traction motors and brake systems, trolley poles and bases, interior and exterior cleaning and paint touch-up, and even changing light bulbs (it's a little harder than you might think!). Car Restoration entails a wide range of tasks such as patching deteriorated wood and metal, fabricating moldings, surfacing, painting and stenciling, machining and casting missing components, installing floors and roofs, restoring seats and windows, installing and repairing air piping and electrical wiring, overhauling air compressors, traction motors, trucks and wheelsets.  If you’re mechanically minded and see the value of preserving historic artifacts from an earlier generation, this might be for you!


Tour Guide: Do you like interfacing with people? Would talking about and showing people how public transportation systems changed the way people lived all the way from the late 1800s to today’s 2013 be interesting to you?  You can volunteer as a Tour Guide at the museum with a flexible schedule.

Our Museum Guides have several options for clothing as long as you are clearly identifiable as Museum Staff.  Does the idea of wearing a long flowing dress, flowered hat and parasol, or for the guys suspenders, dark pants a striped shirt with a straw boater all sound like fun?  Dark shoes, pants and light colored shirt are also just fine as one of our Museum Guides.  We provide your name tag.

Our Museum Guide Training Class will provide you with the needed study materials; coach you on how to guide a group of Museum visitors and talk with them about the history of public transportation and how our trolleys fit into that picture.

Program Coordinator: The trolley museum operates a number of events during the year, all of which could use some help. We do so many things each year: from the Easter Bunny, Fire Truck Show, Superhero’s Day, and Santa’s Winter Wonderland, to events and programs such as our children’s reading program, birthday parties, merit badges, silent movie event, night time photo shoots, Christmas decorations, and a Speakers’ Bureau. Our programs offer an opportunity to meet new people, use your coordination skills or just plain volunteer. We offer training and guidance and a great opportunity to add to your resume.

The Shore Line Trolley Museum is a 501(c)3 educational organization who’s mission is share with a diverse audience the story of the trolley and related forms of public transportation in their historic context.


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