Steel Museum Reimagines Model Train Exhibit

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Although Stephanie Godsey’s father and grandfather both worked in the steel mills of Youngstown when she was growing up, she didn’t know anything about the massive industrial complexes.

Thanks to research she did while revamping an exhibit at a local museum, now she does.

Godsey recently completed a project to update the model railroad exhibit – which recreates a steel mill – at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, also known as The Steel Museum. The University of Akron student is an intern there.

She started the project in July, and it was unveiled Wednesday.

Godsey is working toward a certificate in museum and archive studies at the University of Akron.

“We don’t have an interpretation for the train exhibit right now so we thought it would be a good place to start to have Stephanie do some preliminary research so that we could introduce the idea,” said Marcelle Wilson, site manager of the museum.

Godsey took on a few different roles at the museum while updating the 1960s steel mill-themed train display.

“I had to create and update information on the model train,” she said. “The Western Reserve Modular Railroad Club was the club that put this together in 2010, so we decided to update the sign for them. I then had to create an interpretative framework around the trains and how they operated in the steel mills.”

Godsey says she plans to get her master’s degree in applied history and public humanities next fall.

“I knew nothing about trains and the steel mills before this,” says Godsey. “This was a learning opportunity for me.”

Wilson says the idea of the project came from her colleague, Tom Leary.

“We are having an intern come in the fall and we are hoping that he will pick up on that project and take it to its next stage,” she said.

Wilson said the museum regularly brings on interns for various positions.

“It provides us with new ideas as students come in with different backgrounds,” said Wilson. “It also allows us to utilize their skills and specialties while they get practice on those specialties in a real life environment.”

Intern work may include giving tours, creating exhibits, doing social media posting or interacting with other students for educational programming, said Wilson.

“This has been such a fun project,” she said. “Stephanie did such a great job with the research – just learning about the club that created the exhibit as well as learning about the various positions that people held who worked for the railroads.”

The Steel Museum, 151 W. Wood St., is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

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Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.