Christmas Time At The Dumont Museum

Lyle Dumont is at the helm of his train display on Sunday afternoon

Signourney, Iowa- With its unassuming exterior and straight forward sign, the Dumont Museum may not look like much of an attraction, but once you step through those doors, what you find inside is anything but ordinary.

Over the weekend, hundreds of people made the trek three miles south of Sigourney on Highway 149 to view one of the most spectacular model railroad displays around, and that was just in the lobby.

Once you stepped past the door from the lobby into the museum itself, the significance of the collection became apparent, with one of the largest displays of Oliver Tractors, pedal cars, antique dolls, garden tractors and of course, the model railroad.

When the museum was dedicated, Roy Rogers Jr. helped dedicate the facility in 2000. The Dumonts have amassed a large amount of Roy Rogers memorabilia, bringing you back in time to the age of the silver screen and cowboys and indians and Saturday mornings at the Rivola Theater.

Building of the museum began back in 1994, building it in phases, explained Helen Dumont.

In the middle of the massive railroad display sat this smiling gentleman in his conductor hat, working all the controls needed in order to maintain smooth operation of all the trains that made their way around the lobby.

I asked Lyle Dumont what his motivation for creating and putting together the museum and the display of trains he was sharing was. “Well, I don’t know. I just enjoy it. Its kind of been my life ever since I got out of high school and I’ve been in it forever.”

Lyle says when he got back from the Army, his collecting really picked up.

“My problem is I like it all,” Lyle said when I attempted to get him to narrow down a favorite.

He will say that at this point the trains are something he’s really into, but he will tell you that he likes cars, tractors, toys and pedal cars and pedal tractors. “I kind of really like it all.” The trains were something he put off until he retired said Lyle, “I didn’t have the time to do it nor the place to do it”.

Never one to stop, Lyle is building a brand new train display in the museum, creating as he goes along.

“It don’t do you any good in a box,” Lyle said of the reason for he and his wife to open the museum and share their lifelong collections.

The couple has invited the public every Christmas to come out and visit the museum ever since Lyle finished the display in the lobby five years ago. Besides opening up the display, they give a reduced rate to tour the remainder of the museum the second weekend of December every year.

Helen mentioned one of the parts they like the most “is all the people coming.”

If you want more information on the museum, you can visit their website at www.dumontmuseum.com or you can email them at dumohe@gmail.com.

The museum is normally open Weekends May to October 10 am to 5 pm or by appointment.

Admission is $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids age 8-12 and $3.00 for children age 5-7. Those under 5 are free.

Picture gallery HERE

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