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Model railroad museum in financial peril, may move from Pottersville

Visitors at the Railroads on Parade model train museum in Pottersville gaze at several of the detailed cityscapes created by Clarke and Barbara Dunham, world renowned set designers. The Dunhams are looking for a new financial backer or a new location, or both.
Courtesy photo

Visitors at the Railroads on Parade model train museum in Pottersville gaze at several of the detailed cityscapes created by Clarke and Barbara Dunham, world renowned set designers. The Dunhams are looking for a new financial backer or a new location, or both. Courtesy photo Photo by Thom Randall.

— Railroads on Parade, the world-class museum of model trains complete with lavish million-dollar layouts, may be moving away from Pottersville if a new venue with more tourist traffic is secured.

That’s not all that’s in the works.

The displays, created by the internationally acclaimed set designer Clarke Dunham and his wife Barbara, may be liquidated unless a new financial backer steps forward.

The museum, lauded at its debut in 2010 as a major new tourist attraction in northern Warren County, is “in dire financial straights,” Barbara Dunham stated in an email to the Adirondack Journal this week.

Clarke Dunham confirmed the warning on Aug. 5, noting that patronage of his museum has not met his and Barbara’s expectations.

“Our current investor wants out, and we need to pay back a $450,000 note,” he said. “If we can’t line up that sum, I lose everything and Pottersville loses its major attraction.”

The Railroads on Parade museum has been lauded as having potential as a national attraction — and providing a welcome boost to tourism in northern Warren County that was. The museum features cityscapes crafted in intricate, realistic detail.

Expected to bolster the local economy, the museum has not yet met its potential, Dunham said. He said the reason for its shortfall has been that not enough money has been spent on publicizing the venue.

Dunham is the creator of the famed Citicorp train display in New York City as well as extensive model train layouts in Cincinnati, Chicago, Omaha and Williamsburg, Va. that have been viewed by more than 5 million people, and have been hailed as national attractions.

In addition to seeking out financial backers, Dunham has sought to relocate his model train displays to new locales with greater existing tourist traffic.

Dunham said Tuesday that he’s been considering relocating the displays, or the entire museum, to Lake George, Glens Falls, Plattsburgh, Glens Falls, Albany and elsewhere.

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