Shiloh Museum working to document area railroads

Shiloh Museum working to document area railroads


No one can possibly remember more than half a million images, so when Marie Demeroukas started work on the newest Shiloh Museum exhibit, she enjoyed getting reacquainted with those she’d forgotten.

“Even though I’ve seen most of the railroad photos before, I didn’t remember them,” she admits. “So coming across certain ones was a delight — either because of their clarity or their content or just because they’re way cool.”

But being the photo archivist also means Demeroukas is never satisfied.

“I realized that while we have some great images, our collection is lacking in some areas,” she says of her research for “Working on the Railroad,” which opens Dec. 17. “For instance, we don’t have images of some of Benton County’s early railroads which were folded into the Frisco’s Bentonville Branch later on. Also, I know of only one photo related to William Hope ‘Coin’ Harvey’s Monte Ne Railroad, but all we see is the train’s engine peeking out from behind the depot.

“I sure hope there are better images out there and that someday I’ll get to see them!”

Sometimes that desire comes to fruition, as it did when Demeroukas included an image of Huntsville’s Crossbowettes in a Madison County exhibit and in turn got a wealth of information from former members. This time, the exhibit was also scheduled as “part of my long-term strategy of creating foundational content for our website,” she says.

“Our photo exhibits are on display at the museum for six months before they’re turned into online exhibits,” she explains. “By choosing key topics, we’re building an online resource of area history for anyone to view at any time.”

Also, she says, she hopes visitors to the exhibit “learn that even though we don’t think much about railroads today, at one time they were a major force in shaping the region’s economy, industry, population, politics, and landscape. Our region’s prosperity is, in some ways, a result of the railroads.”

Perhaps the biggest thing missing during the creation of “Working on the Railroad” was the presence of railroad historian and longtime volunteer Tom Duggan, Demeroukas says.

“Several years ago he drafted an in-depth history of the area’s railroads on which I relied when writing my labels,” she says. “His work made my job so much easier! Sadly, Tom passed away over a year ago. I could have used his guidance as I prepared the exhibit.”



‘Working on the Railroad’

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, through June 20, 2020

WHERE — Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale

COST — Free

INFO — 750-8165,

Categories: Galleries