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A Quick and Easy Guide
to Promoting
Model Railroad Month

This guide is intended to help you plan, publicize and carry out activities promoting Model Railroading and the National Model Railroad Association during the month of November, which is Model Railroad Month. The first step is deciding to do something during Model Railroad Month. The event may be something as simple as opening your home layout to a few friends, neighbors or coworkers, or it may be something as complicated as a two or three day club show to which you invite the whole community. Six possible activities will be briefly discussed. They are:
  1. Region or Division meetings/shows
  2. club open houses
  3. home layout open houses
  4. clinics
  5. displays
  6. talks about model railroading
This document will get you started, and the newly revised NMRA Public Relations Guide will provide additional assistance in carrying out your activities. If you feel the need to talk over your plans with someone, the Headquarters Office will supply you with the name and telephone number of someone in the Membership /Promotion Department who will be more than happy to go over your plans with you.

Model Railroad Month Activities:

Region or Division Meetings/Shows to which the public is invited

- There is no better way to show what the NMRA really is all about. Many Regions and Divisions have activities planned for their members during November. Why not make an all out effort to invite interested members of the public to that event. It would only take a little extra effort to publicize the event and the effort could produce new model railroaders and new members for the Region or Division. The
NMRA Public Relations Guide will tell you how to go about publicizing the event, and the NMRA's Membership/Promotion Department will supply posters to advertise the event and membership promotion material to be used to recruit new NMRA members.

Club Shows

- This is your chance to show off all the hard work that your members have put into their club's layout and promote the hobby at the same time. It is also an opportunity to recruit new members for your club and the NMRA. The
NMRA Public Relations Guide will tell you how to go about publicizing the event, and the NMRA's Membership/Promotion Department will supply posters to advertise the event and membership promotion material to be used to recruit new NMRA members.

Home Layout Open Houses

- Every model railroader is proud of the layout that he or she has built, so why not show it off during Model Railroad Month? Many of your friends, neighbors and coworkers are just dying to see the results of all of the long hours that you have put into your home layout. Model Railroad Month is the perfect time to show off your handy work and promote the hobby and the NMRA at the same time. All you have to do is pick a day and time, clean up the layout, issue invitations, dust off the guest book and start the trains running. You will give a lot of people a great deal of pleasure, and you will receive a great deal of pleasure in return from their 'ohhhhs' and 'ahhhhs.' The NMRA's Membership/Promotion Department can provide you with a
Mini Promotion Package which contains everything that you need to promote the NMRA and recruit new members.


- You or your group might consider putting on several clinics during the month. They can be held at the club, at hobby shops, in private homes or in schools or other public buildings. You can
publicize them with flyers or posters in local hobby shops, schools, and recreation departments. If you or your club had a show or open house, your visitors can be invited to follow-up clinics. Keep your topics basic and show the beginners how to get started. You might even consider a series beginning with planning, building benchwork and laying track, progressing through wiring, going on to scenery and ending with simple operations. Keep the clinics simple. Beginners want to know how to begin. There will be plenty of time to learn advanced techniques later. Be sure to include plenty of opportunities for questions and answers. Having refreshments available is a nice touch. A couple of pots of coffee and a plate of cookies won't cost that much, and they will do a lot to put people into the right mood to enjoy your clinics. Please don't exclude children. They are the future of our hobby. We need them if our hobby is to continue to grow and prosper. Getting them started young can turn them into life long model railroaders and NMRA members.


- You might consider setting up a display, operating or static, in hobby shops, stores, banks, libraries or schools. An operating display need not be elaborate, but it must be automatic, or you will need to have a person available to operate it. Static displays in display cases can be a great way to present model railroading to many people without much effort. A carefully planned display can cover many aspects of the hobby and showcase your handy work. It only takes a couple of beautiful models to get peoples' attention. Don't forget to include information about the NMRA in your display. The NMRA's
information handout, which includes a membership application, is available from the home office upon request. Plan to have a supply available at your display. The nice thing about a display is that it can be left in secure cases for long periods of time giving the hobby a great deal of exposure for little effort.

Talks about Model Railroading

- Another Model Railroad Month activity could be one or more presentations/speeches on the subject of Model Railroading. You can contact schools, PTA's, service clubs and other groups and arrange short presentations on model railroading. The talks could be supplemented by
films, slides or videos. If you are you worried about making a speech in public, you can always contact the local Toast Masters or Toast Mistresses for help in planning your speech. You can also ask a local school teacher for help. Most will be glad to assist. Be sure to take along a supply of the NMRA's information sheet/membership applications when you go to give your presentation.


Publicity can be as simple as an oral or written invitation for friends to visit your home layout. A flyer tacked up on bulletin boards at your place of work will spread the word. Larger events such as Region and Division meets/shows and club shows will require more publicity. Start with fliers and posters in local hobby shops. Then go after newspaper, radio and television coverage. The
NMRA Public Relations Guide will tell you how to go about that. Don't forget to spread the word to young people through the schools and recreation departments. Many have newsletters that will include information of interest to students and their families. Many will allow you to put up posters advertising your event.

Help from the NMRA:

Marketing, Advertising, Promotion Department can help you make your Model Railroad Month activity a success in the following ways. We can provide you with additional copies of this Quick and Easy Guide to Promoting Model Railroad Month and the twenty-one page NMRA Public Relations Guide to give to other model railroaders so that they can become involved. We can supply 11 by 17 inch posters to advertise your event. We will send you membership recruitment material in quantity or one of our Mini Promotion Packages that contain just the right amount of material for a home layout open house. We will be happy to provide planning assistance over the telephone. Just ask for a name and number of a Membership Promotion Department contact person. The A. C. Kalmbach Memorial Library has several promotional tapes, all the NMRA's tape slide clinics and the 13 half hour tapes in the All About Train series that you can rent for $5.00 each. All you have to do is write or call the NMRA Headquarters Office in Chattanooga or the A. C. Kalmbach Memorial Library.
Sources for Help and Materials:
National Model Railroad Assn. 	
4121 Cromwell Road 
Chattanooga, TN 37421
Phone: +1 423 892 2846
Fax: +1 423 899 4869
When you contact us, please mention that you are saw this information on NMRA's Web pages!
A. C. Kalmbach Memorial Library
4121 Cromwell Road
Chattanooga, TN 37421
Phone: +1 423 894 8144
Fax: +1 423 899 4869
The NMRA's Membership/Promotion Department wishes you good luck with your activity and thanks you for your help in promoting Model Railroading and the NMRA.

Page last updated October 25, 2001

Copyright (c) 1995-2001 National Model Railroad Association. All Rights Reserved.
This page is written by: John D. Balogh,
This page is maintained and hosted by: John D. Balogh,