PITTSBURGH (WTRF) — What a better way to enjoy the sights of the holiday seasons than to take a trip to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh for a behind the scenes look at the Miniature Railroad & Village.
What was once a small Christmas display more than 100 years ago has now turned into a railroad exhibit that is open to the public year round and is more than 2,300 square feet.
People still come in at Christmastime now and will ask, “Oh, when do you close and we say never?” And we would say, “We’re open all the time.Rosalie Garfinkle, Carnegie Science Center
It takes a team of five employees including Rosalie Garfinkle to make this miniature masterpiece.
So, day to day visitors come in and we’re always trying to engage with them so they can really place themselves into the miniature railroad. One of the things we hear a lot is people walk around and say oh I wonder if when you close do things come alive and walk around and I think they certainly do. So, everything you see when you’re walking around the miniature railroad is handmade by people who work at the Science Center.Rosalie Garfinkle, Carnegie Science Center
Garfinkle gets down to brass tacks inside the Janet & Bill Hunt Workshop.
With her team of coworkers in tow, this modelist puts the finishing touches on scenes like this year’s newest addition, The Night of the Living Dead, just in time for Halloween 2022.
So, with the chapel from The Night of the Living Dead it became popular because of that movie which was shot in a 1968, but the chapel itself was built in 1923 so it does fall within our time period.Rosalie Garfinkle, Carnegie Science Center
The time period Garfinkle is talking about is the pre-1940 qualification for a scene to become a scene.
The building, according to Garfinkle, must have cemented itself into history of the certain Southwestern Pennsylvania town where it is located.
Pittsburg at one point dropped the h.
At one point in the tour there visitors can check out a replica of what once was, Pittsburg’s Luna Park.
Anchors away! A rendition of the Historic S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel hear Somerset, Pennsylvania, another find throughout the tour.
Now check this out!
America’s famous Architect Frank Lloyd Wright sunning himself at his house he fondly named Fallingwater in Fayette County, PA.
All of the scenes are handmade with the love and attention this display deserves.
Any kind of material you can think of we might have found a use for it somewhere on our display. All the drawers and things you see around we’re kind of like hoarders. We’ll find something and think we could probably use this for something. We also use trees to make actual plant, to make dirt roads we use actual dirt, to make pumpkins we use tapioca balls that are painted orange. We even use cat whiskers to paint tiny features on the models. So, things like faces can be fine tuned. So, we all have cats. We found whiskers. We used them.Rosalie Garfinkle, Carnegie Science Center
Rosalie says that people come here asking plenty of questions and one of those questions, the most frequently asked question, is, they ask if the water is real in the river and the answer to that question, she says, is absolutely yes.
They fill the river up using a garden hose and actually even crazier than that is the porch spindles are made of pasta and the former Forbes Field has 23,000 Q-Tips in place of the fans.
Although this miniature railroad is scaled down, it almost creates the opposite effect.
Taking a walk on the tour, the tiny village actually makes you feel, instead, grand, tall, larger than life, maybe even mystical as you take yourself down the track.
There’s just a lot to get lost in. It’s hard to explain it. It’s really, I think kind of magical the way that people get entrenched with miniatures. There’s just something really intriguing about it that makes you just want to shrink down and jump into that world.Rosalie Garfinkle, Carnegie Science Center