MICHIGAN RAILROAD History Museum Curator Mike Boudro can be seen standing next to the museum’s newest display case, an audio-visual depiction of the presidential whistle stop tours that have passed through Durand. In the days when interstate travel was accomplished by way of trains, U.S. Presidents made Durand a regular stop on their tours through the Midwest.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Michigan Railroad History Museum (MRHM), located within Durand Union Station, recently debuted its newest display, highlighting the many presidential whistle stop tours that have passed through the city of Durand. In the past two years, MRHM Curator Mike Boudro and Depot employee Tim Colton have created several amazing visual displays depicting different aspects of railroad history. The duo has now taken their creative talents to a whole new level by creating the museum’s first audio-visual display.
The new display case features a large photo of Gerald and Betty Ford as the backdrop, several newspaper clippings related to the many whistle stop tours, and a custom presidential train with a miniature Dwight Eisenhower on the caboose platform at the rear of the train.
The audio aspect of the display is powered by a microcomputer, which required Boudro to learn how to wire and program. “It is not every day in any profession, that a person gets to learn a new skill, so that was really cool for me” Boudro said. “And I am happy to be able to add to the foundation that Norma Ward, Margaret Zdunic, and Dr. Jean Sloan created here at the Depot. I am just following in their footsteps, and especially Norma’s. She may have small feet, but she has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She has always been the heart and soul of this Depot, and we wouldn’t be here without her.”
Boudro and Colton used arcade gaming buttons for the three audio push buttons, with speeches given by President Ford in 1976, and presidents Richard Nixon and Harry Truman in 1952 featured. Additionally, President Dwight Eisenhower visited Durand in 1952, as did President Bill Clinton in 1996 and President George W. Bush in 2000. The new case is sponsored by the North Newburg Masonic Lodge of Durand.