Train Depot brings railroad history to life Aug. 16-17

August 15, 2014

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 15, 2014

The history of railroads in America will literally come to life Aug. 16-17 in a unique, free event at the Issaquah Depot Museum.

The Suitcases Project, directed by artist Joan Laage, presents alternating scenes throughout the depot and on the passenger trolley that include text, movement and local references to the history of Issaquah.

Erica Maniez, director of Issaquah History Museums, likened the project to a form of performance art or a living, breathing museum.

A cast will continuously perform scenes in and around the depot from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Spectators are free to walk around and observe the cast of railroad workers, passengers, conductors and more.

“It’s really about capturing the mood of an era when railroads ruled,” Maniez said.

Cast members dressed in costume will perform semi-scripted scenes. The performance is arranged so spectators can participate, too, if they choose.

The production is history-based, but not history-specific, so the script uses real things, such as the Orphan Train, a controversial movement that transported orphaned children from the East Coast to Midwest foster homes beginning in the 1850s, but the people the characters represent may not have been real.

“It’s a fascinating way to interpret local history, and not what most people are used to from a museum,” Lissa Kramer, Issaquah History Museums program coordinator, wrote in an email.

The project is a part of 4Culture’s Historic Site Specific program, and was developed in collaboration with Issaquah History Museums.

The Depot Museum is at 78 First Ave. N.E.

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