Gibson Gallery gears up for model train enthusiasts

 

Fred Barkhouse Jr., treasurer with the Windsor Modular Railroad Club, takes a closer look at the track to make sure it is level as he helps set the exhibit up at the Gibson Gallery. The Gibson Gallery opens its 2014 season with “The Hobby and Art of Model Railroading,” which runs from tomorrow through March 23. The opening reception for the exhibit is this Sunday from 1-3 p.m.

Fred Barkhouse Jr., treasurer with the Windsor Modular Railroad Club, takes a closer look at the track to make sure it is level as he helps set the exhibit up at the Gibson Gallery. The Gibson Gallery opens its 2014 season with “The Hobby and Art of Model Railroading,” which runs from tomorrow through March 23. The opening reception for the exhibit is this Sunday from 1-3 p.m.

By Ron Giofu

The opening exhibit of the 2014 season at the Gibson Gallery is linked to what the building was originally used for in 1896.

The gallery, a former Michigan Central Railway Station, will feature “The Hobby and Art of Model Railroading” starting March 6 and running through March 23. The exhibit is presented in conjunction with the Windsor Modular Railroad Club, who just held their annual exhibit in Essex.

“We just want to show off the hobby of model railroading,” explained club treasurer Fred Barkhouse Jr., who was at the gallery last Saturday helping to set the exhibit up. “In our opinion, it’s the best hobby out there.”

Barkhouse believed the hobby encompasses many different aspects of arts and crafts, including painting, electronics, and woodworking.

“It really touches on anything you want to do,” he said.

The exhibit at the Gibson Gallery is about half of the club’s travelling show, he continued, as it is roughly a 24-foot by eight-foot display. The display in Essex was roughly twice that size with their permanent display at the Windsor Market being 60-feet by 40-feet.

Model railroading is a “basement hobby” for many people, Barkhouse continued, and shows like the one at the Gibson Gallery draws them out so they can see the model trains of others.

“It’s a great way to meet other model railroaders,” he said. “It brings them out of the woodwork.”

The Windsor Modular Railroad Club also supports another club in the Kingsville-area, he added, and that they are helping to sustain the hobby locally. A lot of people locally simply like to see what they do, said Barkhouse, and that includes people of all ages.

“I haven’t seen a kid yet that doesn’t like seeing a model train,” said Barkhouse.

The club has two shows a year – their open house in February and their show in Essex – and the Gibson Gallery show is now a third for 2014. It is the first time the club has held a show in Amherstburg.

“We’re happy to be here. Hopefully it’s a success as well,” said Barkhouse.

Barkhouse said the club doesn’t mind showing their trains to people on Tuesday nights when they meet at the Windsor Market.

Bonnie Deslippe, publicity director at the Gibson Gallery, said the idea of a model train show came up when the board was discussing ideas for new exhibits. That led to them reaching out to the Windsor Modular Railroad Club and the club agreed to come once their show in Essex had concluded.

In addition to the trains themselves, Deslippe’s eyes were caught by some of the other works that accompany the trains including trees, bushes and shrubs that were created for placement alongside the trains as well as the painted scenes that go in the backgrounds along the tracks.

“I was impressed by the backdrops,” she said.

There is an opening exhibit for “The Hobby and Art of Model Railroading” this Sunday at the gallery from 1-3 p.m.

The Gibson Gallery, located at 140 Richmond St., is currently open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. There is free admission but donations are accepted. For more information, call 519-736-2826 or visit www.gibsonartgallery.com.

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