Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum gears up for a facelift

By Heather Meade hmeade@civitasmedia.com

April 3, 2014

BRADFORD – It was recently announced that the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum (BORM) will be awarded $275,000 through Ohio’s 2015-2016 appropriations for the Capital Budget, and the museum already has big plans for that, plus some.

“The Bradford Railroad Museum will not look the way it does today,” Marilyn Kosier, MD, founder and trustee of the BORM, stated. “We’re amateurs.”

A nearly $480,000 renovation of the former bank facility, located at 200 N. Miami Ave. in Bradford, is in the works, said Kosier. The museum has partnered with Exhibit Concepts, Kosier stated, to implement a design that makes the story of the Bradford railroad history flow and come alive.

It hasn’t been a short road, though, Kosier said - it’s a journey that began 10 years ago. In 2003, the BORM was still meeting at the Bradford Public Library. In 2004, Rep. Diana Fessler helped the museum procure a $100,000 Capital Budget appropriation, Kosier noted, envisioning that the museum would be able to build a tower, and possibly a depot.

“We never got land from the village, so we finished the tower, and with what little money we had left we finished the exterior masonry repair here,” Kosier stated.

In 2006, $30,000 was appropriated from the state for the exterior, signage and window repairs, Kosier said. That was the year that the BORM moved to 200 N. Miami Ave. in Bradford, she noted.

In 2010, the museum renovated the first floor, and opened the mezzanine for a media space, though it wasn’t weight-bearing so they also had to introduce a load-bearing wall, Kosier stated. Something was still missing, though, she added.

“It became apparent we didn’t have enough space for children. We thought about using the vault, but they could pinch their fingers,” Kosier noted. “Upstairs had become a multi-media area, and so we got the idea to do it in the basement.”

It came down to renovating the basement, or exploring concept designs with Exhibit Concepts, Kosier said, and at that time, construction costs were low, so they renovated, all with private donations, she clarified.

In April 2013, Kosier and Sandy and John Edminson sat down with Exhibit Concepts to talk about people, structures, and the ideas the museum wanted to implement to effectively tell the story of Bradford’s railroad history, Kosier said. Concept books were created for what the museum will look like after renovations, Kosier commented.

Once the permanent exhibits are completed, they will meet social studies requirements for students K-12, Kosier said.

“Museums preserve history and enhance the lives of everyone,” Kosier stated. “Imagine the world with no museums. How would current generations experience and learn from the stories of those before us?…I think it would be nice to have more local visitors from the surrounding area to experience and get involved with the museum. When you have more participants, programming can expand and events can be more successful.”

It takes many to make a successful non-profit, from volunteers to donors to state representatives, Kosier noted.

“I personally wish to Thank Rep Fessler and Rep Adams and their staff for working on behalf of the museum and the Ohio General Assembly for their appropriation of funds to develop the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum Complex. When You receive funding from them it shows other donors that you can accomplish the goals that you set,” Kosier said.

“The museum will benefit the State of Ohio not just Bradford. Railroads connected America back in 1869 when the golden spike was driven. Every town that was near a railroad profited from the service they provided. America needs to appreciate what they did to move America forward and how they contribute to our economy today,” she continued.

The Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays, April through December. Visit www.BradfordRRMuseum.org for more information.