The traditional holiday train display returns to the Monmouth Museum, in tandem with an ‘All Aboard’ photo display of railroad landscapes. (Photo by Benjamin Riley)
Holiday traditions come and go, but when a longstanding local signifier of the season threatens to drop out of sight, it can upset the equilibrium of community life.
Happily, the annual Model Train Display has returned to the Monmouth Museum right on schedule for the season — complete with new trains and a fully updated network of track — and it’s joined by an exhibit that celebrates the role of the railroad in the development of the United States, as well as the train whistle’s continued siren-call to generations of American artists.
Real live reindeer are present and accounted for, as Sickles Market inaugurates the season with a Holiday Open House event on Friday, November 14.
Ask anyone whose job it is to stock the shelves of the Seasonal aisle at the chain pharmacy — or who’s been forced to listen to the piped-in music at the chain pharmacy. The holidays are here and NOW, and no amount of patient, tasteful restraint or social-media finger-wagging is going to stop this train.
Which brings us to this Friday, November 14, and the Monmouth Museum, where the main gallery hosts a reception for All Aboard! Railroads & The Historic Landscapes They Travel, a group show guest-curated by lensman Michael Froio, and spotlighting the work of eight photographers who collectively celebrate the transformative role of the railroad in the American landscape over the past 150 years. Vintage travel and advertising posters (on loan from the Private Collection of Bennett Levin) are also on display, with the reception running between 3 and 5 pm, and the exhibit continuing during regular museum hours through January 4, 2015.
Also on view will be a returning holiday-season favorite — the Monmouth Museum Model Train Display, a long-running feature that “will make its comeback with new, improved trains and updated network of track.” And if that doesn’t sound the whistle on the express to the season of lights, the Friends of Monmouth Museum will be unveiling their annual Holiday Tree, decorated for 2014 with train and railroad-related memorabilia. Check the Museum website as well for info on the annual Holiday Gift Gallery, set to commence on November 21.