Why are we hosting an auction?

The Elgin County Railway Museum is currently in the process of re-housing, re-organizing, and inventorying new and old pieces in our collection. We have many pieces that have been donated over the years that no longer fit within our collections policy, and we have chosen to deaccession them. We are following the ECRM Collections Policy and ethically deaccessioning artifacts.

Through this process we are auditing and organizing our current collection to ensure we have enough resources to properly care for all of the artifacts in our collection. We are also bringing two collections together, housing both the ECRM and the CASO Station artifact collections in one place.

We will be auctioning some de-accessioned artifacts, but most of the auction pieces are items that were donated to the museum, and never accessioned into the collection. These pieces were given to the museum with the understanding that they may not be part of the main collection, but can be used to raise funds that will then go towards the preservation and conservation of accessioned items.

Please see our FAQ section below for further information regarding the auction. If your question is still unanswered, please contact our staff via phone or email.

Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Phone: (519) 637-6284
Email: thedispatcher@ecrm5700.org

Auction Details

Dates: Opens November 16, 2020 and closes November 30, 2020.
Times: Closings start at 5:30 PM on November 30, 2020.

How can I purchase from the auction?
The auction will be run by Shackelton Auctions, and can be found on their website here. Shipping and/or pick-up of items are both available and will be arranged with Shackelton Auctions.

Auction Preview:
An in-person preview will be held on November 28, 2020 at Elgin County Railway Museum.

8:30 – 11:30 AM: open to ECRM Members & Volunteers only
12:00 – 4:00 PM: open to all public

Please be advised that all COVID-19 procedures and policies will be in effect. There will be a time limit of 30 minutes per person for the preview and a limit of 20 people allowed in the building. Masks are mandatory, and hand sanitizing strongly encouraged. Single use gloves will also be provided for those interested in handling any items they may be interested in.


I heard you are throwing things out! Why are you doing this?
In some rare instances, we have come across artifacts that have been stored incorrectly for many years, and have unfortunately been contaminated with mold. We have cleaned and restored as many as we can, however, If an object is not able to be cleaned we have had to dispose of it in order to protect and preserve the rest of the collection.

What items are being de-accessioned?
We are currently auditing our entire collection and deaccessioning items that:
a) are not relevant to the museum’s mandate or mission statement
b) are duplicated within the collection

Why are they being sold instead of given to another museum?
Prior to placing items in our auction ECRM has gone through and identified pieces that may fit within the mandates of other museums. Those museums were contacted regarding those items but did not have space for them in their collections. Other items that were donated, but never accessioned, were carefully gone through to ensure they did not have historical significance for ECRM’s mission prior to being put into the auction.

Where is the money from the auction going?
The money generated from the auction will be going back into the museum’s collections budget and used to help preserve the rest of the collection.

I donated [insert item here], and I don’t want it to be auctioned! Can I have it back?
We appreciate your donation to ECRM! As per our collections policy, the museum owns all objects entrusted to its long term care. At the time of donation, we ensure that all items are given as unconditional gifts to be used in the best interest of the museum. ECRM does not accept donations where the conditions of the acquisition restrict the use or disposition of that object fulfilling the goals of the organization. With that being said, we can evaluate issues on a case by case basis.

Why is there so much stuff?
We have a vast number of items in our collection that have been accepted over the last 30 years since the opening of the museum. When we first opened in 1989, our museum was run by a dedicated group of volunteers who were avid collectors of rail history and who were eager to accept everything rail related that was donated. This allowed us to build up a large collection of railway artifacts to share with the public. As ECRM has grown as an organization, we now have staff who are trained in assessing and evaluating the historical significance of artifacts. Our staff has been working diligently over the last few months to re-evaluate the items in our collection and determine which artifacts are important to keep. The items that are being deaccessioned and added to our auction are either surplus items where we already have many of the same item in our collection, or are not of historical significance.