Excited to Welcome and Introduce…

Stein Erikson- Building and Grounds Associate

Stein started at the museum in late April, bringing with him extensive experience in just about everything, and his well-rounded skill set is already making its mark to help our small team grow in productivity!

Stein took early retirement last year after 26 years of leading a 100+ person IT architecture group at Fidelity Investments. Clearly a go-getter, he was not quite ready to settle into retired life, and as luck would have it for the museum, his passions aligned with our needs perfectly! His non-IT talents and experience include working on cars, and trucks, running heavy equipment, and extensive experience on older cars (carbureted) engines, and transmission rebuilds. The son of a builder, he is also very experienced in all phases of home building and makes high-end furniture in his home workshop. Stein is also no stranger to model railroading, as his father-in-law Richard Godfrey helped start the Southern New England Model Railroad Club and maintains the public display, as well as an extensive model railroad in his basement.

Cathy Blair- Iron Horse Antiques Store Manager

Cathy started at the store in early May, bringing with her decades of experience in the industry. She is already making enhancements to the shop, which is now open 7 days a week! We are thrilled to welcome her to the BRVM team!

The museum store reopened in 2021 as a multi-dealer antique shop and general store, receiving rave reviews in its’ inaugural year. Cathy’s knowledge and passion as an antiquarian will help the shop become established in the antiquing network of Maine. ‘I have been in the antique business pretty much my whole life. Together with my husband, Tim, I have run 2 large antique group shops in Wells, both of which are still successful businesses today. Prior to moving to Boothbay 4 years ago, we ran Bo-Mar Hall and Wells Antiques & Collectibles (now Anytime Antiques). We had 180 dealers in Bo-Mar and 80 dealers in Wells Antiques. ‘Since moving to Boothbay we have continued our antique business, doing markets, and shows, as well as vending in group shops. Our business, Mid Coast Pickers, also sells online on Facebook and eBay.’

Many Thanks to Steve Markowitz, Museum Director 2019-2022

By Dr. Whitney Lytle

Steve Markowitz has dedicated so much of his time, energy, and inspiration to the railway village and will be leaving his post as Executive Director having made his mark in the form of improvements that elevated the museum and enhanced the experiences of our visitors. Having started as the Operations Director in 2019, Steve immediately identified innovative ways in which the museum could better meet its mission and proactively pursued these avenues, laying the groundwork for major projects like the proposed archive building. By the time Covid-19 hit in 2020, Steve was now the museum’s director and was faced with challenges unlike any the museum had previously encountered. His leadership played a key role in the survival of the museum. During the shutdown, he led our team towards the continuation of improvement plans for better collections care, the tackling of maintenance issues, and the wildly successful re-branding campaign. Of course, reopening the museum during the ongoing pandemic presented all-new challenges. I saw the amount of concern and care Steve had not only for the success of our institution but for the welfare of our staff and visitors. He waded through ever-changing regulations and put in hours of research on how to best handle our 2021 season with the utmost safety. Like most businesses, staffing was a difficulty all its own in 2021. You could visit the museum any day of the week and you may find Steve filling in wherever the need arose. From planting flowers, caring for the museum’s goats, covering a shift in the Iron Horse General Store, running the model railroad, or serving as conductor with a smile and enthusiastic “ALL ABOARD!”. As a supervisor, Steve was not afraid to make tough decisions while always showing respect and confidence in the abilities of his staff. I will miss his willingness to be a sounding board for ideas and a teammate in problem-solving. I have truly appreciated his leadership, friendship, and vision for the museum as a place where Maine history can be preserved and enjoyed for decades to come.

Many Thanks to Steve Markowitz, Museum Director 2019-2022 By Dr. Whitney Lytle Steve Markowitz has dedicated so much of his time, energy, and inspiration to the railway village and will be leaving his post as Executive Director having made his mark in the form of improvements that elevated the museum and enhanced the experiences of our visitors. Having started as the Operations Director in 2019, Steve immediately identified innovative ways in which the museum could better meet its mission and proactively pursued these avenues, laying the groundwork for major projects like the proposed archive building. By the time Covid-19 hit in 2020, Steve was now the museum’s director and was faced with challenges unlike any the museum had previously encountered. His leadership played a key role in the survival of the museum. During the shutdown, he led our team towards the continuation of improvement plans for better collections care, the tackling of maintenance issues, and the wildly successful re-branding campaign. Of course, reopening the museum during the ongoing pandemic presented all-new challenges. I saw the amount of concern and care Steve had not only for the success of our institution but for the welfare of our staff and visitors. He waded through ever-changing regulations and put in hours of research on how to best handle our 2021 season with the utmost safety. Like most businesses, staffing was a difficulty all its own in 2021. You could visit the museum any day of the week and you may find Steve filling in wherever the need arose. From planting flowers, caring for the museum’s goats, covering a shift in the Iron Horse General Store, running the model railroad, or serving as conductor with a smile and enthusiastic “ALL ABOARD!”. As a supervisor, Steve was not afraid to make tough decisions while always showing respect and confidence in the abilities of his staff. I will miss his willingness to be a sounding board for ideas and a teammate in problem-solving. I have truly appreciated his leadership, friendship, and vision for the museum as a place where Maine history can be preserved and enjoyed for decades to come.

Many Thanks to Charlie Bamberg, Board President 2019-2022

By Lori Reynolds

In November 2019 I received a call from Charlie Bamberg, on behalf of the Railway Village Museum. He invited me to breakfast to discuss the upcoming North Pole Express. I had never met Charlie before, but after our first meeting, I felt as if we had been friends for a lifetime.

Charlie made a lasting impression on me that day. It wasn’t as much what he said as how he said it. He spoke so passionately and fondly about the Railway Village Museum and its history. And about the museum’s founder George McEvoy. He told remarkable and entertaining stories about how the museum came to life 56 years ago, and organically grew, and grew, and grew, through the power of one man’s passion and determination, hard work, and perseverance.

Admittedly, I had never spent much time at the museum before that day, and I remember walking home and thinking to myself, how in the world have I missed all of that?

The passion that Charlie projected across the table that morning was ultimately the reason I decided to climb aboard the North Pole Express train that winter, and the rest of that story is now history.

Over the next two years, Charlie led our small, but powerful team {with Executive Director Steve Markowitz} through the rocky waters of COVID19, {surviving the first shutdown in the museum’s history}, and coming out stronger on the other side, {2021 closing financially stronger than ever before}. Through their leadership, a new brand was launched to highlight all aspects of the museum, the store reopened with a more sustainable business model that also tied in with the museum’s mission, and for the first time in the museum’s history, the position of Director of Curation and Education was filled {Dr. Whitney Lytle}, in keeping with the museum’s vision: ‘to utilize its unique village setting to engage adults and children in hands-on activities designed to create a better understanding of Maine village life throughout the period. We aspire to transform the way we view and relate to Maine’s rural past through interactive visitation, educational opportunism, and a variety of dynamic programs to enrich our daily lives.’

During their leadership memberships grew substantially, several grants and donations were secured, and the once-popular quarterly newsletter returned, {now The Village Voice}. Also, through their leadership came the initial planning and design of the much-needed Archive Building. Charlie donated his time and talents to complete the architectural drawings that brought the project to its first phase of life. {Read more about this ongoing project at railwayvillage.org/adopt-a-project}.

Whether he was preparing for a monthly board meeting, attending a staff meeting, flipping hamburgers or parking cars at an event, or presenting to foundations on the museums’ behalf, Charlie set forth his mission with the same passion and loyalty that had shown so brightly the first day I met him.

These accomplishments are truly a drop in the bucket in terms of the time, dedication, loyalty, devotion, support, and love that Charlie gave to the Railway Village Museum, its staff, volunteers, members, and visitors during his tenure as board president. He never missed an event, a staff meeting, an opportunity to promote the railway, or a chance to thank anyone who supported the museum in even the tiniest way.

From a personal standpoint, I wish to thank Charlie Bamberg, for calling me on that November day. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work under his leadership. He taught me a lot about the importance of selflessly giving back. About going after what you believe in, about always showing gratitude. I greatly admire his kind and generous spirit. And {as Charlie would say}, ‘I’m not just blowin’ smoke’.