In the early days of New York’s Grand Central Station, featured among its many amenities was a pipe organ that was played daily as background music for patrons utilizing the station’s lounge. Similarly, the Dundee & Newtyle Railway Station in Perth, Australia, featured organ music up until the time of its closing in the 1960s, and Toronto’s main rail station still features live piano music daily in it’s great hall.
In keeping with that idea, the Richmond Railroad Museum recently acquired a donation of a three manual theater organ, which will augment the museum’s upcoming movie series, and be available for patrons who rent the building for weddings and parties. The instrument was provided as a donation by Jim and Elizabeth Heller who reside in Woodbine, Maryland. Daffer Organ Company, and their vice president Al Murrell were instrumental in securing the gift and installing it in its new home at the Richmond Railroad Museum at 102 Hull Street.
According to Old Dominion Chapter president, and concert organist John DeMajo, the idea of installing an organ in the museum came after a recent very successful screening of the Buster Keaton silent film, The General, which featured live organ accompaniment by Dr. Mark Andersen, a nationally known concert organist. DeMajo and Murrell saw the possibility of the museum offering a regular movie series with features such as Phantom Of The Opera at Halloween, as well as other classic and railroad related presentations. By making the organ available to music students from several area colleges which offer performance degree programs, DeMajo hopes to increase the museum’s attractiveness to the public by presenting cultural and entertainment programs that augment the museum’s primary mission of presenting the story of Richmond’s rich railroad heritage.
The Old Dominion Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc., is a voluntary, non-profit Virginia educational organization. The Museum is open, for a $5 admission for persons fourteen and over, every weekend. Hours are 11 to 4 Saturday and 1 to 4 Sunday. Visit the Richmond Railroad Museum with your family. For more information, go here.