Photo by Matthew Cohen
Richard "Dick" Soper recants the tale of the infamous R.M.S. Titanic through his personal collection of Titanic memorabilia.
PLATTSBURGH — The Champlain Valley Transportation Museum is abuzz with activity as museum personnel prepare to take its contents out of hibernation for the museum’s opening day on Tuesday, April 2.
Richard “Dick” Soper and his co-operator, Fundraising and Membership Director Lisa LaFountain, are also gearing up for an opening day celebration to be held April 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the museum grounds.
The celebration will feature go-kart rides for kids and various hot rods will also be on display. The cost is $5 for general admission and $4 for students and seniors with valid ID.
The Champlain Valley Transportation Museum's history begins in 2000 with its founder, Dr. Anthony Vaccaro, MD, and his purchase of a Lozier, an expensive, high-end car made in Plattsburgh at the turn of the century by the now-defunct Lozier Motor Company.
If you go
What: Champlain Transportation Museum's opening day
Where: 12 Museum Way, Plattsburgh
When: Tuesday, April 2 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
“With his idea in the beginning here, the initial plan was to have a museum and put all of the Loziers in it, until he found out that Loziers are extremely rare cars and are worth a lot of money,” Soper said. “So how can you buy a whole bunch of really rare old cars? That was the first thing.”
From then on, it was decided that the museum would still exist, but include other forms of transportation besides Loziers.
Today, there are 34 cars on display—from a replica of a 1903 Oldsmobile to a 1981 home-built electric town car—a boat exhibit, more than 750 die-cast models of vehicles including trains, fire trucks and boats, and a Vulcan locomotive that children can climb on.
There is a lot to see, but none of the vehicles are owned by the museum.
“They’re all either loaned or donated,” Soper said. “We rely on donations.”
Besides donations, the museum also gets funding through admission fees and fundraisers, such as the wine tasting event held last January. There is also a museum store that sells various gifts.
An upcoming addition to the museum is the Kids’ Station, slated to open this summer.
According to the CVTM's website, “Kid’s Station is an exciting children’s museum where children can learn and grow. It’s an interactive and hands-on environment that allows children to use their imagination to discover, explore, and create.”
Much like the museum, the Kids’ Station is funded by grants and donations.
“There’s a grant we got. It’s $4 million dollars, and we’re dedicating one building, the old stable,” Soper said. “That building will become the Kids’ Station.”
CVTM also offers community service opportunities, and recently hosted the Theta Phi Alpha sorority as they helped prepare the museum for opening day.
In August, the museum will host their first Drive-a-thon, an event in which participants will cruise the North Country before enjoying a barbecue at the museum. Proceeds from the event will go to the museum and a charity of the participant’s choice.
For more information, visit www.cvtmuseum.com or call 566-7575.