Dues pay for some of the things that NRHS does: the Bulletin, the NRHS News, the administrative work of supporting chapters, and organizing the activities that our members have come to enjoy such as the conventions and RailCamp. However, when these are paid for, there is little leftover. That is why we ask for those of you who have the means to provide us with additional support to carry forward the important and unique work of NRHS. Below are the major programs that need additional resources to expand their scope, service, and usefulness.
Preservation is one of the primary goals of NRHS. Through our Railway Heritage Grant Program, we help chapters and other historic organizations conserve, preserve and restore artifacts that are integral to the history of railroading in the United States. We understand that there are many ways to portray railroad history, but there is nothing like being in the physical presence of an object to make history real.
For the past 20 years direct member support, above and beyond the annual dues, has allowed us to disburse nearly $500,000 in funding to over 200 vital preservation projects. These funds often leverage a cascade of beneficial activities: matching money from other entities, volunteer engagement with railroad history, and promotion of the value of railroading history.
Each year the amount requested consistently exceeds the amount we have available to disperse. With every passing year that restoration is deferred, the risk of losing another unique piece of history is more pressing.
NRHS has collections that need conservation and indexing as well. We hold a large film collection that is in danger of being lost if measures are not taken soon. Additionally, preservation cannot just mean holding assets. We have a commitment to make those materials accessible to researchers, historians, and the general public as well by making the collections more widely available online.
RailCamp is a unique program provided by NRHS. With over 500 alumni, this program is designed to engage young people in railroading by teaching the historic perspective and the current practices used on America’s rails through hands-on experiences. Currently, we are able to accommodate 24 campers at RailCamp East headquartered at the University of Delaware-Newark. An additional 12 campers attend RailCamp Northwest headquartered at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. The NRHS has available financial assistance as well as full scholarships provided by individual chapters, other organizations, and members.
To make donations to the Film Preservation Program, the NRHS’s General Fund, the Heritage Grants Program and/or RailCamp, please click on the link .