Thursday, July 24, 2008

Railroad museum gets grant


In efforts to preserve local history, the South Coast Railroad Museum in Goleta was awarded $24,712 in grant money by the Institute for America’s Researcher’s (IMLS).

The IMLS’s ‘Museums for America’ grant is largest grant program for museums in the United States, supporting projects and activities which foster museums’ capacities to serve their communities.
As one of the 371 applicants for the IMLS grant for Museums for America this year, the South Coast Railroad Museum was one of 154 projects to be selected for a grant. The museum will utilize the awarded funds for a project titled ‘Goleta Depot: The History of an Enduring Community Landmark’.
“The award of this IMLS grant is great news and a wonderful opportunity for the South Coast Railroad Museum,” said Gary B. Coombs Ph.D., Director of the South Coast Railroad Museum. “The grant funds will make it possible for us to update and expand the history of Goleta Depot that was first published back in 1982 and which has been out of print for twenty years. We are especially excited that the final product will be available in a full-color digital version, as well as in traditional printed form.”
Spanish and English versions of the text will be available, according to Coombs in both print and online. Coombs said the new edition will supply information about the Goleta Depot as well as engage its audience by making connections to the everyday lives of its readers.
“The mission of the Goleta Depot is the dedication to the history, technology and adventure of railroading with an emphasis on local railroad history and the Southern Pacific Railroad,” Coombs said. “The revision of this book will help preserve our mission.
Congresswoman Lois Capps announced her delight on Tuesday with the museum’s grant, noting her stance to the preservation of local history.
“This is a remarkable achievement for the South Coast Railroad Museum,” Capps said, in a prepared statement. “The Goleta Depot has played an important role in our community for decades and it’s important that we celebrate that rich heritage and preserve this local history for future generations. I commend the South Coast Railroad Museum for embarking on this ambitious project and I look forward to reading the new book.”
Coombs said the Goleta Depot filled an integral role when in operation as a local train depot during the early 20th century.
“In cities like Santa Barbara, it’s common for the railroad stations to be specialized,” Coombs said. “[Goleta Depot] did a lot of things. It was a freight station, an express building, a passenger unloading station, was home to the Santa Barbara telegraph office and even sent orders for trains.”
More information about the South Coast Railroad Museum can be found online at

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