National Roller Coaster Museum Embraces New Future; New Organization Preserving and Protecting the Amusement Industry's Colorful Past

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The National Roller Coaster Museum and Archive has a new board and a new vision to share its vast amusement park and roller coaster archives with the public. The NRCMA's goal is to preserve and protest the history and heritage of the amusement park industry. "Our concern is that someone is throwing away this history everyday and we want to be sure to get the word out that we are certainly interested in saving these bits and pieces of Americana. Without these efforts to collect this material, these pieces of history - these treasures from our childhood memories - will be lost forever. " Richard Munch, historian and NRCMA board member said.

It is so important to keep these pieces of history not only safe, but eventually available for the public to see and enjoy

Rising like Knoebel's Phoenix, the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archive (NRCMA) is alive and well, screaming up the big lift hill of history on its way toward a thrilling new future.

The newly re-formed board of directors includes members of the theme park industry, ride manufacturers, publishers, historians and enthusiasts. They are undertaking the laborious process of reviewing current archives but are also continually acquiring new additions to the collection.

"It was important to all of us to return the focus of the NRCMA to preserving and protecting the history of not only roller coasters but the exciting past of the entire amusements industry," Gary Slade, Chairman of the NRCMA said. "The collection has set idle for some time and we have forged a new group of professionals committed to finally dusting off the artifacts and to provide them their rightful place in the public eye."

There are many gems of the NRCMA collection. Among the dozens of roller coaster cars and trains is included an original Prior and Church car from the 1920's and a complete train from Denver's Mr. Twister roller coaster from Elitch Gardens. The archives include the complete collection of plans and documents from the late roller coaster designer William L. Cobb and his associate, John Pierce, and a collection of personal articles from the late Bill Crandall, longtime park operator and multiple water ride inventor. A highlight is the only existing section of roller coaster track and wooden structure from the recently demolished Texas Cyclone, formerly at Astroworld in Houston. Files of photographs and artifacts from current and defunct parks, round out the growing collection, all awaiting the opportunity to be appreciated in future exhibits, publications and by researchers.

"It is so important to keep these pieces of history not only safe, but eventually available for the public to see and enjoy," Richard Munch, historian and NRCMA board member said. "Our concern is that someone is throwing away this history everyday and we want to be sure to get the word out that we are certainly interested in saving these bits and pieces of Americana. Without these efforts to collect this material, these pieces of history - these treasures from our childhood memories - will be lost forever. "

In an effort to take in a much broader view of the amusement industry, including all the great rides and attractions, the organization now plans to collect and exhibit more than just its extensive roller coaster collection. The board is set to collect signage, documents and rides that cover all of the history of the amusement industry. The NRCMA plans to make the historical archives available first in an on-line virtual museum and eventually in traveling exhibits.

The ultimate goal is to bring together all the elements of the amusement industry. Assisted by the most talented and creative individuals from other historic organizations and groups, the NRCMA will provide the most up to date and thorough exhibits of this incredibly rich storyline, which began in the late 1700s in Europe, and was brought to the shores of Coney Island in the 1850s.
As part of its objective, the new board plans to work with every park, industry leader, park historian and enthusiast group, bringing together more than 200 organizations, individuals and companies from across the amusement spectrum, to assist with this endeavor.

The National Roller Coaster Museum and Archive is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of the history of the roller coaster and the amusement industry. Cash and artifact donations can be made by contacting the NRCMA PO BOX 5424, Arlington, Texas 76005-5424.

NRCMA BOARD BIOS:
Gary Slade, Chairman
Slade, Chairman of the NRCMA board, is the founder and Publisher of Amusement Today, the leading trade publication for the amusement industry, located in Arlington, Texas. Slade has documented the amusement industry for more than 30 years with an archive spanning more than 30,000 images. Slade also serves on the board of directors for AIMS International, a non-profit association whose goal is to promote safety in the amusement industry.

Carole Sanderson, Secretary
Sanderson, Secretary of the NRCMA board, is also Chief Financial Officer and partner of Herschman Architects Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. Sanderson is a confirmed thrill seeker and theme park expert having served earlier as American Coaster Enthusiasts president (2002-2006).

Jeff Novotny, Treasurer
Novotny, Treasurer of the NRCMA board, is the owner of Larson International in Plainview, Texas, the manufacturer of the classic Flying Scooter, Super Shot and Fire Ball rides. He is the former president of AIMS International.

Richard Munch
Munch is a distinguished theme park and roller coaster historian and published author. His book Roller Coaster Fever and his profile of ride designer Harry Traver are considered notable references on the subject. Munch is also a founder of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, and a past president (1978-1982). His career has taken him to Cleveland, Ohio, where he works for Herschman Architects on various commercial projects.

B. Derek Shaw
Shaw is a noted theme park and rock-n-roll historian. He has what is arguably one of the largest collections of amusement park material in the world. Professionally, he serves as the Manager of Special Projects for the American Lung Association. Residing in York, Pennsylvania, he is a long-time, active member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts and is co-host of the club's Eastcoaster event each February.

Pete Owens
Owens is the Media and Public Relations Manager for the Dollywood Companies based in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Owens background is in television news in which he worked for nearly 15 years. He is also a guest lecturer on crisis communications and media relations for the Travel Institute of America and NAARSO. While a relative newcomer to the amusements industry, his enthusiasm regarding the history of the industry and its impact on the American family drives his participation in NRCMA.

Mark Moore
Moore founded the Uremet Corporation in 1992 in Santa Ana, California. His company reconditions worn wheels and manufactures new replacement wheels for nearly 300 rides at 70 amusement parks and for 12 ride manufacturers. He is the current president of AIMS International, and brings extensive industry contacts and knowledge to the NRCMA board.

Walt Bowser
Bowser is the Vice-President of Maintenance and Construction for the Six Flags Corporation. His 17 years experience in the Six Flags organization and his passion for the preservation of theme and amusement park artifacts makes him an invaluable asset to the NRCMA. Residing in Lubbock, Texas, Bowser spends a considerable amount of time at most of the Six Flags properties.

For more information, interviews or historic photos, contact NRCMA board member Pete Owens, at prpeteo@yahoo.com. To donate, send donations to the NRCMA, attention, Jeff Novotny, NRCMA Treasurer, PO BOX 5424 Arlington, Texas 76005-5424

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Peter Owens
The National Roller Coaster Museum and Archive
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