Our Annual Open House

Our 2023 open house concluded at 4:00 p.m. on 3 December. We are pleased with the turnout. We welcomed at least 178 visitors over the weekend of 2 and 3 December. We are impressed and grateful for the generosity displayed by our visitors. As always, we enjoyed conversing with numerous repeat visitors. We also enjoyed seeing many new faces walk through our door. It was especially refreshing to talk to several young, aspiring model railroaders who will help perpetuate our fantastic hobby. We had visitors from other model railroad clubs as well.

Here are a few scenes of our most recent open house. These photographs and some additional information have been added to a new page to highlight our 2023 open house. We intend to add some more photographs soon.

If you missed us, pencil us in on your 2024 calendar, seeing as our annual open house is usually held the first weekend of December.

If you don’t want to wait that long, the public is welcome to pop in on our regular meeting nights, detailed on our Contact Page.

When we confirm our next open house, the details will be posted here and on our facebook page.

Admission will be free.

Donations will be graciously accepted and immensely appreciated.

We look forward to meeting new visitors and welcoming back repeat visitors.

Unfortunately, we do not have a bathroom. Please plan accordingly for your visit.

At least once per year we enjoy welcoming the public into our beloved depot, so that everyone can see what the Milwaukee & Northern Railway Historical Society (MNRHS), also-known-as the Neenah-Menasha Model Railroad Club (NMMRRC), is all about.

You can admire our historic 1882 depot.

You can see what the hobby of model railroading has to offer.

You can discover some of the history of our prototype railroad.

Maybe you will consider joining our Society or supporting our cause in some other way.

Our first open house was held in 1982.

A 9 December 1982 Janesville Gazette article about our first open house in 1982.

This newspaper article announced the open house which we had hosted on 8 December 1982. This was the first time that the general public was invited to come in and discover what we are about. Previous open houses were hosted exclusively for members of other model railroad clubs. Larry Easton, far right, was a co-founder of the MNRHS.

In April of 2020 Wally, our current president, reminisced about that 1982 open house: “Yeah, I remember that. It was the first time the club opened the doors to the general public. Larry had researched and found that our building was reaching its 100th birthday and we decided to celebrate that with the open house. It was on a regular meeting night and I didn’t know about all the publicity that we had received on it. I drove down to the club with my toolbox in the truck, figuring I could work on whatever project and maybe there would be a few extra folks visiting to see what we were all about. I had to park about a block and a half away, left my tool box in the truck, and when I reached the depot, there was a line of people waiting to get inside! The place was packed. This was before we had built the part of the pike that now fills the middle of the baggage room, so that area was filled with attendees as well.”

Wally added: “We have had many open house events since then, usually on a weekend over two full days, which spreads the crowd out so that we are more able to greet and talk with the people. Over the years we have seen many old friends returning to check on our progress as well as lots of new faces seeing our railroad for the first time. One of my favorite parts is witnessing the wonder in a child’s eyes when he or she sees our miniature world. Or when an older kid exclaims “Gramma, Grampa, the trains run RIGHT through the BATHROOM!!”

Wally operates a train on our model railroad circa 4 November 1989. This may have been a publicity photograph for our open house that year. Photograph courtesy of the Neenah Historical Society.

Here are a few scenes from earlier open houses.

A scene from our open house on 4 Dec. ’22. In the background to the right, Wally Rogers is interviewed by a multimedia reporter from Green Bay’s WFRV, Channel 5. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Warren Lutz stands next to the beautifully decorated custom-made case housing his father’s O-scale Lutz Bros. Circus Train during our open house on 3 December 2022. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

A scene from our annual open house on 4 December 2021. Wally Rogers, our current president, is the guy in the background wearing the blue hat with white polka dots. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

A scene from our annual open house on 5 December 2021. Two of these guests are visiting from the Paper Valley Model Railroad Club. Wally Rogers, our current president, is the guy in the background wearing the blue hat with white polka dots. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

We hosted an open house on 2 October 2021 for attendees of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) Winnebagoland Division Fall Meet. Here Wally, our president, explains some features of our model railroad to our guests. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

A scene from an earlier open house on 15 December 2019. Photograph by Tom Bruss.