Model railroad museum may be on fast track to history

Twin City Model Railroad Museum

Nobody, as near we’ve found, is saying exactly what the dispute is over, but kicking out a world-class model railroad museum isn’t the best PR the owner of Bandana Square has ever gotten.

The Star Tribune reports the Twin City Model Railroad Museum has been told by landlords to pack up the trains.

“It’s a piece of history,” volunteer Peter Southard told the paper. “To know that is going to be lost is a great disappointment.”

Maybe it won’t be.

“We are working out the specifics with the landlord to make everything whole,” a member of the museum’s board of directors told me today, preferring his name not be used. He said there’s still a chance the museum won’t be evicted, but he wouldn’t say what the issues are that prompted the eviction notice in the first place.

It appears to be short-term money and leasing, however, because the museum wanted to move anyway.

The Museum had set up a fundraising page to help underwrite a move of the museum that the group had already planned, but said on its Facebook page it “now will focus on making the payments needed to meet requirements of our lease and hopefully raise enough funds to still allow us to remain open in the future, likely in a new location.”

In a September Facebook post, a museum official dispelled rumors the museum was shutting down.

We have enjoyed our 31 year home in Bandana Square and our 6 year run of the Toy Train Division in the Chimney’s Building has been incredibly popular. However, having a museum in two different buildings with different hours is a real challenge.

But not much longer!!! In October our membership will be voting to select one of several new facilities that will bring our Toy Train Division and Bandana Museum under one roof! While we are unable to give specifics until the vote occurs we are happy to say that any change would still keep us local, minimize or prevent any long closure, and allow us to grow!

We hope to add birthday party spaces, room for traveling exhibits and the ability to display a huge HO layout that has been donated to us plus having room to host scout groups, seminars, and book signings. Visitors may even have the ability to watch some real trains roll by!

Linked to this post is our fundraising campaign site at “FundAnything“. Our fundraising campaign that will help us make our transition to a new space. It will pay off all remaining expenses in our current facilities and help cover moving costs into a combined facility that will allow us to grow and offer new amenities at a lower cost than the 2 buildings we currently occupy.

If we exceed our goal the additional funding will help restore and display a massive HO layout that has been recently donated to our museum, but due to lack of space has not been able to be put on display.

We have identified several gift levels that we hope will encourage you to support this wonderful St. Paul attraction. We are truly grateful to all the dedicated donors and we thank you for taking the time to consider donating to our worthy cause. Please share this campaign with friends and family and spread it widely on social media!

In the meantime we are very excited for the upcoming event “The Circus Moves by Rails” to be held at Bandana on October 24th and 25th. We are also looking forward to an awesome Night Trains season (the last in Bandana Square!) that will start November 7th and run every Saturday through February 27th!

Thank you and have a great day!

Brandon, VP Marketing and Public Relations – Twin City Model Railroad Museum

The museum attracts about 30,000 visitors a year, the museum spokesman said.

The museum moved from St. Paul’s Union Depot to Bandana Square in 1984. At the time it was a shopping center owned by the Wilder Foundation and the St. Paul Port Authority.

Museum officials indicated they’ve been looking for a place to expand the museum, but haven’t been able to find anything suitable.