Model railroaders hope donors are on board with museum bailout

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Like a damsel in distress – pleading for mercy from the rent collector – the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum is looking for a hero to ride in and save the day. And perhaps their saviors will ride in on electric trains.

The museum located in St. Paul's Bandana Square has fallen behind in its rent payments and faces eviction, the Star Tribune reports. Museum officials want to move to a more affordable space but have been unable to find a location, their spokesman tells the newspaper.

Now the museum that's been run by volunteers since its founding in 1934 is hoping its supporters will contribute $30,000 to keep it operating. But an October 26 deadline is drawing near.

KSTP says that's the date of a court hearing which could provide a chance to negotiate a payment plan with Wellington Management. Or could be the end of the line for the museum.

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Museum leaders say their landlord has actually been far from villianous in this melodrama, though.

Vice-president of marketing Brandon Jutz tells the Pioneer Press the landlord has been "incredibly accommodating ... But he's in a position to sell. He needs us out so he can make renovations." Jutz says, adding "We just committed ourselves to a lease we were unable to afford."

As word of the museum's financial straits has spread, donations from supporters have started coming in.

A page for the museum had been set up at a crowdfunding site before their financial crisis took hold, but museum officials say they prefer that donations be made directly through their web page.

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