The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)’s award-winning tradition of historic preservation hit another home run for Preservation Month. SCAD students salvaged a piece of American history that would have otherwise disappeared when they restored of a rare 1911 wooden passenger train car. The students turned the railroad preservation project into an educational opportunity and intentionally left parts of the train car in its found state to teach visitors about the preservation process.
Owned by the nonprofit Coastal Heritage Society, the decrepit rare train car was originally brought to the Georgia State Railroad Museum from the city of Augusta. As part of a spring student project, three graduate and eight undergraduate SCAD students carefully restored the 1911 train car to complement the SCAD Museum of Art, an adaptive reuse project that turned an 1853 antebellum railroad depot into a modern museum. The train car is currently displayed at the Georgia State Railroad Museum adjacent to the SCAD Museum of Art.
“SCAD knows well the stories of Georgia’s railways—our award-winning SCAD Museum of Art rises proudly from the ruins of the nation’s oldest surviving antebellum railroad depot,” said SCAD President and Founder, Paula Wallace. “Now, the nation’s premier preservation design program helps narrate another tale for the appreciation of railfans for generations to come.” SCAD recently changed its program name from “Historic Preservation” to “Preservation Design” in order to acknowledge the intentional planning, technological acumen, and community leadership required to maintain and evolve our cities. Students’ preservation work included replacing the train car’s exterior wood siding, refinishing woodwork, and stripping the original mahogany panels of layers of paint and shellac.
Images via SCAD