Unwrapping the "Lead Gift" That'll Help Move Museum of American Railroad Outta Fair Park

Categories: Transportation
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At right, that's Amtrak's Texas Eagle -- or, at least, the coach car and first-class sleeping car that pulled into the Museum of the American Railroad at Fair Park yesterday. It's part of what the museum calls "its long-standing partnership with Amtrak to re-introduce the benefits of rail travel to North Texas." It's just on loan, though, there through October 12, five days before the State Fair wraps. So ... not really a gift.

For that, let's go to the museum's announcement sent to Unfair Park last night. But first a quick recap for those not following along: The city of Dallas initially wanted the museum, which long ago said it was chugga-chugga'ing to Frisco, out of Fair Park by August 1 in order to make room for space to sell on the State Fair-grounds. A lawsuit was filed; hearings were held; certificates were certified; motions were motioned; and, finally, a judge set January 2011 as the trial date. Meanwhile, the museum continued to raise the coal needed to make the move. But it's tough raising money these days -- boy-oh-boy tough.

Except: The museum says it has received "a lead gift" of $50,000 from Jack Maxson and wife Sally. Says the release, that's "a substantial cash gift toward the Museum's goal of $500,000.00 for construction of its Phase 1A facilities in Frisco."

Maxson's name oughta ring a bell to some -- he's the co-founder of Showco. Says he in the release that follows in full: "We are happy to assist in the Museum's next major step in its growth. Its collection is world class -- the finest in the Southwest. It deserves a home that is fitting of its importance in American history. The Museum has worked hard to get to this point and the City of Frisco recognizes the Museum's potential as a major attraction."
Museum Receives Lead Gift


DALLAS, TX: The Museum of the American Railroad has received a lead gift from Mr. John D. "Jack" and Sally S. Maxson. The Maxsons are lifelong residents of Dallas. They have graciously contributed $50,000.00 to the Museum as its Capital Campaign for the Frisco site moves forward. This is a substantial cash gift toward the Museum's goal of $500,000.00 for construction of its Phase 1A facilities in Frisco.

"We are happy to assist in the Museum's next major step in its growth. Its collection is world class - the finest in the Southwest. It deserves a home that is fitting of its importance in American history. The Museum has worked hard to get to this point and the City of Frisco recognizes the Museum's potential as a major attraction," said Mr. Maxson.

Jack Maxson is co-founder of Dallas-based Showco and Vari-Lite International which pioneered state-of-the-art sound, as well as automated stage, theater, and concert lighting systems worldwide.

Mr. Maxson is nephew of the late Everett L. DeGolyer, Jr, Dallas philanthropist, and co-founder of the Railroad Museum in 1963. The DeGolyer family is best known for the Dallas Arboretum, which is on the grounds of their former estate near White Rock Lake.

The Maxson gift is a substantial boost to the Museum's Capital Campaign. The Museum funded the design and engineering phases of the Frisco project internally. With engineering complete, the Capital Campaign is now underway to raise 1/3 of the $1.5 million required for Phase 1A construction. Under the development agreement with Frisco, the City will provide 2/3 ($1 million) of the funds.

The Museum is very grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Maxson for their generosity and support of the project in Frisco. The Maxsons also contributed $25,000 to the Museum's Strategic Plan project developed by M. Goodwin Associates of Los Angeles in 2006. With the Capital Campaign underway, the Museum hopes to reach its initial goal of $500,000.00, which allows construction to begin. Completion of Phase 1A construction will enable the Museum to move its rolling stock collection and historic structures to its new permanent home in Frisco.

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