Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 12 June 2009 07:40
The evening is also a great time to meet their recently appointed Director of Development William R. Bell. Like everyone involved in the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum – he too was born a rail fan.
Mr. Bell said, “I grew up in Pittsburgh. My home overlooked the Ohio River and the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks that ran along the riverbank. The ‘age of steam’ was coming to an end and my brothers and I developed a deep affection for trains. The sights, sounds and smells remain to this day an important part of our youthful memories. My younger brother continues to be a serious model railroad enthusiast.
“I moved to New York, by myself, at the age of 19. While working a variety of ‘unusual’ jobs, I put myself through Queens College night school. I have held senior management positions at two medical centers, and prior to that I served as national associate fundraising director at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.”
Mr. Bell has a vision for the museum. He said, “The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum represents an important component in the renaissance of the Hamlet of Oyster Bay. When completed it will provide a family friendly, historically significant, educational ‘destination’ spot for the region. The station/museum will provide a link to the Theodore Roosevelt era and all that it represented. TR and dignitaries from all parts of the world actually used the station that visitors will be able to enter and enjoy. The museum will contain a Visitors Center that will provide local information about the Hamlet and all it has to offer. It will provide a sorely needed gateway to the waterfront.
“The turntable and rolling stock will instruct new generations about the significant role that the railroad played in the development of, not only our region, but the country as a whole. In essence this will be an educational experience that is virtually unavailable anywhere else in our area,” he said.
Mr. Bell is ready to fire up the museum engine. He said, “I am very excited about the future of the OBRM. My job is to tell the story, state the need, and hopefully attract a wide variety of community leaders, government officials, and ordinary citizens to the important goals and objectives of a viable and operational Museum.”
Mr. Bell comes to the museum with over 25 years of management and fund raising experience. He most recently served as President and CEO of the Cabrini Mission Foundation, a global enterprise serving the United States, Swaziland, and the Philippines. Prior to that he served as a member of the senior management team at Long Beach Medical Center, as director of development.
His comprehensive background includes leading capital campaigns, annual funds, special events, grant procurement, marketing and corporate communications. He has also served as development consultant on two America’s Cup Campaigns.
Bill has a B.A. in Political Science/ Communications from Queens College, and resides in Sea Cliff, with his wife Maureen, the administrative director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Genome Research Center. They have two sons, Brendan and Kevin.
The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of Long Island’s railroad history. The museum’s preview Center at 102 Audrey Avenue is open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Tuesday evenings, 6 to 8:30 p.m. It features interactive, hands-on and audio visual exhibits, an operating O gauge train layout, descriptions of the plans for the museum, and a gift shop. For more information visit the web site at www.OBRM.org or call them at 558-7036.