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Program 810

1. the Kentucky Railway Museum
2. photographer Rick McComb
3. Earthwatch at Mammoth Cave
Season 8 Menu

Nelson County

For more information:
Kentucky Railway Museum, P.O. Box 240, New Haven, KY 40051, (800) 272-0152

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographers: Frank Simkonis, Dave Shuffett
Audio: Doug Collins
Editor: Dan Taulbee

All Aboard!

The Kentucky Railway Museum

At one time, more than 40 different companies operated railroad lines in Kentucky, offering both freight-hauling and passenger services over 5,000 miles of track. Since 1930, 40% of that track mileage—mostly secondary and branch lines—has been abandoned, and passenger trains are now almost a thing of the past. But many still find the call of the rails irresistible, and many others delight in building their own elaborate railroads in miniature.

For both groups, the former train depot at New Haven, in Nelson County, has indeed become a haven. It’s the headquarters of the Kentucky Railway Museum, one of the country’s oldest museums devoted to trains.

In addition to exhibits of photos and artifacts from the golden age of train travel, railroad buffs will find more than 80 units of restored rolling stock, from steam engines that hauled Kentucky coal to cars that took troops to the front lines in World War II Europe. A 3,000-square-foot exhibit hall showcases model railroad layouts of various vintages and various gauges. And from the embarkation point in the nearby small town of Boston, museumgoers can climb aboard one of several excursion trains for a ride through the Southcentral Kentucky scenery along the 17 miles of mainline track operated by the museum. On our visit, host Dave Shuffett takes his own ride with engineer Tish Knoeller and conductor Ned Brown—two of the many “retired” railroad workers who have found new careers at the Kentucky Railway Museum.

You’ll find more from the Kentucky Railway Museum in Kentucky Life Program 1209.

Franklin County

For more information:
Kentucky Department of Education, 500 Mero Street, Frankfort, KY 40601, (800) 533-5372

Producer, videographer, editor: Treg Ward

Picturing Learning

Photographer Rick McComb

Rick McComb also has a job that keeps him moving—and that he loves. As the official photographer for the Kentucky Department of Education since 1978, he has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles photographing teachers and students in the state’s classrooms, documenting both the ever-changing, from hairstyles to technology, and the constant: the simple joy of sharing and learning.

Rick’s photographs are featured in KDE materials and have appeared in several national publications, including Education Week, the Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times Magazine. At the time Kentucky Life caught up with him, he had also recently completed a large-format exhibit titled Faces of Reform, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the landmark Kentucky Education Reform Act. In this profile, he takes us along on some classroom shoots and, in between, sits still long enough to talk about the rewards of a job that keeps him surrounded by young people.

Edmonson County

Producer, videographer: David Brinkley

Watching the Cave

Earthwatch volunteers in Mammoth Cave

People have been going into Mammoth Cave, on business or pleasure, for thousands of years. More recently, volunteers organized by Earthwatch followed along behind them, documenting the human history of the world’s longest cave by finding and noting what the visitors left behind—from prehistoric sandals to “I was here” notations on the walls to 1950s-vintage snack wrappers.

The dry underground environment keeps it all well preserved. Over the course of more than a decade, each year’s volunteers photographed the objects and graffiti and carefully documented their locations, then marked them with flags and left them in place. Expedition leader Dr. George Crothers, then an associate researcher at Washington University, wanted to examine as many of Mammoth’s 300+ miles of passages as he could. He and Roger Betz, a volunteer from Minnesota, talk about the project in this segment.

The Earthwatch Institute is a nonprofit organization that funds environmental, historical, and archaeological research around the world by recruiting interested lay people to work as volunteer laborers on expeditions. Each volunteer pays a share of the expedition costs. The Mammoth Cave project has wrapped up since our visit, but Crothers stayed in Kentucky as an assistant professor and director of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky.

SEASON 8 PROGRAMS: 801802803804805806807808
809: Simple Pleasures and Hidden Treasures810811812813

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