When the Carson City Library was undergoing renovations earlier this year, it outsourced its “Story Time” program for youngsters to other locations, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
That experienced brought an epiphany to museum staff and volunteer Susie Kapahee.
“I loved the energy, loved working with the kids, so I thought, ‘Why don’t we do a program of our own,’” Kapahee said.
So Adam Michalski, the museum’s curator of education, museum attendant Cristol Digangi and Kapahee put their heads together and a new program was born.
“Story Time” made its debut on Feb. 24 with about a dozen youngsters hearing the story of “The Little Engine That Could.” The program will continue every other Saturday, including March 10 and 24 and April 7 and 21, in the Jacobsen Interpretive Center. As the weather gets warmer, the program is likely to switch from inside to on board one of the museum’s trains.
For Kapahee, the combination of children, reading and trains is a delight. After working in the library system in Washoe County, she and her husband, George, retired and moved to Carson City from Reno last year.
“I was with the library system in Washoe County for a number of years,” she said. “I was the marketing coordinator over adult programming and also got involved with the children’s librarians. I loved the kids and their love of reading. I saw how it changed lives. We would bring in these school children for reading and doing crafts. I just saw what a difference it made with the kids.”
After moving to Carson City, Kapahee became involved with the railroad museum through a longtime friendship with Dr. Rebecca Bevans and the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
“I love trains,” she said. “I always have. At Disneyland, that was my favorite thing to do.”
Kapahee volunteered with the museum’s Harvest Train program in the fall and Santa Train program during the holiday season.
She sees great potential for the Story Time program. The museum has a number of train-related children’s books, including the home-grown “The Legend of Whistlin’ Billy,” written by museum volunteers Loren Jahn and Jane O’Cain and published by the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The first chapter of the three-part coloring and story book will be read at the March 10 Story Time.
“This is a coloring book and we’ll be adding that in for the kids and I expect to start doing some crafts eventually as well,”” she said.
The Story Time program is free for children.
The Nevada State Railroad Museum is open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, free for museum members and children 17 and younger.