$6 million grant awarded to Philadelphia museum railroad exhibit

RELATED TOPICS: STEAM/PRESERVATION
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BLW60000FranklinInst
Baldwin Locomotive Works No. 60000 is moved to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in September 1933. It took five days to move the locomotive five blocks from 24th and Vine Street.
Barry R. Nemcoff
PHILADELPHIA – A $6 million grant from the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust will transform the Franklin Institute's Train Factory exhibit, which features three steam locomotives, into a two-story gallery of technological advancement.

The space will be known as the Treasures of the Franklin Institute Gallery, featuring many objects never on public view before, including such items as Benjamin Franklin's glass armonica, an early film projector, airfoil models made by the Wright Brothers, lantern slides of Marie Curie's work with radium and other objects detailing nearly three centuries of technology and innovations. The new exhibit is expected to open in time for the 200th anniversary of the Franklin Institute in 2024.

The grant is the largest gift awarded by the trust, which has a long history of generosity to the museum. That generosity includes the donation of 4-10-2 No. 60000 to the museum in 1933 by Samuel M. Vauclain, then president of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The Hamilton family are descendants of Vauclain.

No. 60000 is a three-cylinder 4-10-2 equipped with a water-tube boiler. It was built as a demonstrator of innovative locomotive technology and traveled to many railroads around the country before being placed in the museum.

“For decades, the Baldwin 60000 has been a piece of our family’s history, a treasure for tens of thousands of visitors to The Franklin Institute, and a symbol of innovation and technological advancement," says S. Matthews V. Hamilton of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust. "We look forward to the newly imagined gallery, filled with technology both past and present to spark curiosity and learning for generations to come.”

As part of this project, the floor surrounding the 350-ton No. 60000 will be cut away to reveal the steel and concrete bridge structure that supports the locomotive. The cutaway floor will reveal the lower-level archival collections area.

Displayed with it are two historic locomotives donated by the Reading Co. in 1933. Rocket was built in 1838 in London for predecessor Philadelphia & Reading Railway, while People's Railway No. 3 Shamokin is an 1842 4-4-0 built by the P&R. It was later acquired by the People's Railway and came back to the Reading when it acquired that company in 1923.

For more information on the Franklin Institute and its existing Train Factory exhibit, go to www.fi.edu.
BLW60000
A builder's photo shows No. 60000 as new. The road number comes from the locomotive's construction number.
Baldwin Locomotive Works

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