Model Trains & Railroads
Train enthusiasts of all ages can experience the romance of the rails in the Morris Museum’s Model Railroad Gallery. Visitors will be introduced to a the state-of-the-art model train exhibition, which features three separate tracks. The trains move through a world of imagination as they travel through a town with shops, cars, and people busy with activity. Bright ‘neon’ (L.E.D.) billboards and shop signs lend a contemporary touch to the landscape.
Hands-on activities allow children to explore the sights and sounds of train travel and safety, or to imagine themselves as the engineer, lifting an arm and tugging on a whistle. Young visitors will enjoy playing with wooden tracks and train cars, or looking at the train story books in the gallery.
In addition, visitors can browse a gallery wall showcasing the diverse ways in which trains became part of the American landscape and imagination. Interpretative panels throughout the exhibition invite visitors to learn more about train history, working on the railroad and more.
Seasonal Mega Model Train Exhibit
Each year, during July – August and the winter holiday season, the Morris Museum opens its Mega Model Train Display in our Main Gallery – an intricate model train that meanders across a 288-square-foot landscape replicating a bustling city and pastoral scene, equipped with a waterfall, planetarium, and even a sasquatch. This year, the exhibit will open in early August as it is moving into its new home.
The exhibit features 500 feet of O-gauge track surrounded by an eclectic array of buildings, figurines, cars, trees, and all sorts of other interesting minutia. Along the sides of the display are 48 buttons, each activating a unique light or a moving device, allowing guests to interact with the exhibit. Almost like a real-life Where’s Waldo book, half the fun of Mega Model Trains is admiring the incredibly detailed scenes dispersed throughout.
The train set is maintained thanks to the efforts of museum volunteers Ira Ginsburg and Bob DeGuarde. It is an ever-changing work of art. With all the materials, time, and energy devoted to the display, preserving the trains and scenery has really been a labor of love.
Originally, this train set was viewable at the Nabisco Headquarters in East Hanover, NJ. The display was constructed, maintained, and expanded by Nabisco employees until 2000, when the company was purchased by Kraft Foods. Kraft continued to operate the trains, but after the September 11th attacks, concerns about safety led them to curtail visitation rights only to employees, their families, business partners, and local preschool students. In 2012, the Kraft Corporation’s East Hanover office became Mondelez International. Rather than continue maintaining the trains, Mondelez donated the display to the Morris Museum, where it was opened to the public in December 2012 and continues to be shown seasonally.