Are you looking for a fun family activity in the Historic District in Frederick Maryland? The Roads & Rails Train Museum in Shab Row is a lot of fun for kids, old or young, full of interactive displays and probably one of the largest O-scale model railroad displays in the country.
The museum opened in the summer of this year, 2011, the collaboration of David Borroughs and his three sons, David, Matt and John. They combined their skills as computer technologists and programers, Hollywood set designer and craftsmen and worked for over 4 years to create the massive train display and a gift shop, truly a family endeavor.
Model train buffs will appreciate the craftsmanship in the many hand-made landscape pieces like the mountains and volcano, made of styrofoam and plaster. David Borroughs describes model railroading as Kinetic Art.
Kinetic Art – noun – art, as sculptural constructions, having movable parts activated by motor, wind, hand pressure, or other direct means and often having additional variable elements, as shifting lights.
As kinetic art, model train layouts are a living, ongoing art. This is certainly true of the Roads & Rails model train display. The Burroughs are constantly adding to, tweaking and embellishing their display with new and antique pieces, with quirky references to modern as well as historic culture. You’ll see the Dunder-Mifflin Building, the Hogwartz Express, and Lost, among others; and hopefully you’ll find Waldo…I did, but I’m not telling! You’ll see a replica of Grandfather Burrough’s Thurmont Auto Garage and you’ll see cars, trucks and trains from many different decades.
Imagination is The Priority
“We’ve never been too concerned with realism,” explains David Burroughs, “we don’t mind at all that there are cavemen and dinosaurs alongside the coal mine under the subway.” The western town and the “World’s Worst-Kept Zoo” have nothing in common but the tickling of a child’s imagination (or adult’s for that matter:) The family’s design philosophy, “Who needs a plan?” is evidenced in the layers of whimsy and fun that you’ll find sprinkled throughout the display.
No Model train set would be complete without a noisy volcano and a Pterodactyl, am I right?! Children will delight in pushing the interactive buttons all along the model display, operating trains, lights and whistles, activating a circus and trolley cars and buses, as well as a drive-in movie and many other gadgets and noises. Kids will enjoy the Lego train display, and Thomas the Train even has his own eye-level track for the littlest ones!
Historic Frederick At It’s Best
The Roads & Rails Museum is located in the Historic District in Frederick, in the building that was the first electric generating plant of the City. The original section of the building was built in the 1890’s and has 18-inch-thick walls in the original section. The large space has a party room that is great for birthday parties and corporate parties or events. The large parking lot has ample room for event parking.
More Roads & Rails to Come
In the Spring of 2012, the Burrough’s plan to open a new section of the museum featuring antique cars from the 50’s and 60’s, with the exception of the De Lorean.
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