Museum needs volunteers
Published 10:30 pm Friday, September 25, 2015
Demi Naylor has a personal connection to the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum.
“My grandmother caught the train to college from here,” Naylor said.
So it’s fitting that she now is the museum coordinator at the place where her grandmother — whose maiden name was Harriet Brown and first married name Harriet Johnson; Thaxton Brown, longtime postmaster general, was Harriet’s brother — traveled back and forth to James Madison University.
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“I love working in the museum,” Naylor said. “I like it for the history, and I love the people as part of it too.”
The museum located at 326 N. Main St. was constructed in 1885 as a passenger station for the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad. It later also served the Virginian Railroad through 1956, when the Virginian discontinued passenger service. It continued to serve the different lines that bought the Seaboard until 1968, when passenger service was discontinued.
CSX used the station as a freight office for several years and then abandoned it.
In 1994, the station caught fire, and it was in danger of being demolished. But through the effort of the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society and a partnership with the city, renovations were undertaken, and it opened as a museum in 2000.
The museum includes a model of Suffolk in 1907 that stretches over two rooms, as well as many Seaboard artifacts such as dining car menus and dishware.
But Naylor is in need of volunteers to help run the museum, particularly on Sundays.
No prior knowledge of trains or railroads is required, but a desire to learn and share knowledge with visitors is a necessity, as well as comfort running the cash register. Volunteers to stock the gift shop also are needed, as well as volunteers to help with events like the “Stuff the Caboose” event on Dec. 5 to benefit Toys for Tots.
Naylor said volunteers are able to choose their own shifts. It’s a perfect job for history buffs, students interested in history or museum studies, train enthusiasts and retirees, she added.
The museum operates solely on donations and gift shop sales with the generosity of volunteers.
The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Call 923-4750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer or get more information.