All Aboard with Brian Floca, Locomotive, and Historical Toy Trains

This weekend we will be celebrating all things trains for ages young and old. Our terrific case of toys and trains Batteries Not Included showcases example of toys from 1850–1945.

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Caboose, ca. 1902. Elie Nadelman Collection, New-York Historical Society. INV.7621

 Included in this case you’ll find a variety of train cars—a caboose, a fruit car, a Heinz ketchup box car, and a locomotive, among others. On Saturday and Sunday you can search for them all, have fun with our performer Conductor Bob, and create your own train car collage.

Train examples

On Saturday at 3 pm, we are honored to host author and illustrator Brian Floca who speak with families about the Transcontinental Railroad, being inspired by train travel, and his new incredible book Locomotive! The story follows one family as they travel west on the newly built railway, and captures the excitement and newness of this westward route.

Locomotive Family - Floca

Brian Floca, from his book Locomotive.

Recently, Brian spoke with Publishers Weekly about this book, his love of train travel, and the everlasting appeal of trains. Here are some excerpts of what he had to say:

Brian on what is cool and geeky (in the best way!) about trains: “I think what initially attracts many kids to trains are the “cool” things: strength, size, agency, speed. But trains also operate within a world of systems, schedules, codes, and fine distinctions. Enter the geeks. What I personally love most about trains is that they are transporting, that they take us places – literally and otherwise.”

Locomotive cover (1)

Brian Floca, from his book Locomotive.

 Brian on his writing, illustrating and researching process:  “I can never pick a hard start date for a book – they creep up more than they start – but from first real effort on Locomotive as it exists now to completion was about four years. There was other work in there, too, and then a lot of fumbling and restructuring of the book as I realized that I wanted to make something not just about a locomotive, but about the first transcontinental route, too. Traveling that route became a hugely memorable trip for me, a wonderful experience, one that injected a lot of life into the histories I’d been reading, and I hope life into Locomotive, too. I met curators, historians, and a fireman and an engineer who gave essential help in making the book.”

Come join the fun this weekend!

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This is a clubhouse blog for kids who love history! It is created by the staff of the DiMenna Children’s History Museum and New-York Historical Society.
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