The Art of Railroading from the Grohmann Museum Collection

Tuesday, March 1, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom
Registration closes on Monday, February 28 at 4:30 p.m. (CST)

Now Available on YouTube

James Kieselburg, director of the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) will share a survey of railroad images, including prints, photographs, paintings, and sculpture, from the museum’s collection.


James Kieselburg is the Director at the Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering. James has spent the past 20+ years at the Museums of Beloit College, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University, and MSOE. He is the curator of several recent exhibitions including STEEL: Photographs by David Plowden, The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, and The Two Edmunds. He has also published numerous books, essays and articles for the Grohmann Museum, The Society for Industrial Archeology, and even the Center for Railroad Photography and Art.  His scholarly pursuits focus on museum design, the art of industry, Regionalist and Precisionist painting, and the sociology of work.


This event is free.

Railroad Workers (Adzing for Tie Plates). Leonhard Sandrock, ca. 1910. From the collection of Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering
James Kieselburg, director at the Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering

Postcards from my Seventy-Two Year Vacation – A Conversation with Mitch Markovitz

Tuesday, February 8, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom
Registration closes on Monday, February 7 at 4:30 p.m. (CDT)

Now Available on YouTube

Painter Mitch Markovitz will discuss his lifelong love of railroad art from his earliest memories of visiting the Illinois Central’s Grand Crossing station with his mother to running trains by the same station forty years later as an engineer. Now a revered artist, the themes of his works tend to focus on the world of railroading – not just trains but life in railroad situations – through the medium of oil paint.

In this program Mitch will deliver a thirty-minute presentation on his art and then we will open the floor for a long-form Q&A session. Attendees will have the opportunity to unmute and ask their questions live.  


Mitch Markovitz was born on the south side of Chicago and has enjoyed a lifelong interest in the arts and railroading. He attended the American Academy of Art and the Chicago Academy of Fine Art before being hired out to the Chicago and North Western Railroad in 1969 at first as a brakeman and later a suburban ticket collector and passenger service trainman. Mitch’s role in the railroad industry has been robust with him holding a large variety of positions, including fireman, hostler, engineer, Amtrak ticket clerk, conductor, service coordinator, and chef. From 1984 to 1999 he served as the art and creative director, assistant passenger traffic manager, trainman, and engineer for the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railway. Today he channels his vast experience of railroading into oil paintings as a commissioned artist. He has also authored the publication “How to Draw and Paint Trains Like a Pro,” and co-authored “Moonlight in Duneland.”

This event is free.

Elrond Lawrence joins Center for Railroad Photography & Art as new Acquisitions & Marketing Coordinator

The Center for Railroad Photography & Art is excited to announce that Elrond Lawrence will be joining the staff in the newly expanded role of Acquisitions & Marketing Coordinator. Lawrence, a well-known name in railroad photography, will bring more than 30 years of public relations, marketing, and communications experience to support the rapidly growing Center, in addition to nearly 40 years of experience with and connection to the rail photography community.

The expanded position will begin in early February, and Lawrence will divide his time between two roles: working with collection donors to ensure the smooth transfer of their materials into the Center’s Railroad Heritage Visual Archive; and establishing a marketing communications program to promote the Center’s programs to the rail photography and arts community and mainstream publics. 

“Our growth over the past decade has been tremendous,” said Scott Lothes, president and executive director. “Through the leadership of our board and support of our community, we have expanded every aspect of our programming and assembled a wonderful team. Elrond’s great connections within the rail community will help us provide even better service, while his expertise in marketing and communications will help us reach broader audiences than ever before. This is an exciting addition at a key moment in our history.”

“Working with Scott, the Center, and its staff is a dream come true,” said Lawrence, who began photographing trains in Southern California at age 14 with a 110 Instamatic camera and quickly moved to 35mm cameras. “This role is the culmination of a dream that dates back to 1982, when I discovered the photography of Dick Steinheimer and Ted Benson in the pages of Trains magazine, and their work literally changed my life. In a similar way, I hope to inspire others by helping the Center continue founder John Gruber’s legacy: preserving and showcasing significant photography and artwork, and introducing new audiences young and old to the images and collections of our rail community’s great artists.”

Lawrence joined the Center’s team in the part-time role of acquisitions coordinator in 2021. His marketing and communications career includes work with Kaiser Permanente, the Episcopal Church, technology marketing firms and tech clients, and railroad heritage organizations. He grew up in Fontana, California, within sight of Santa Fe Railway’s Second District main line and former U.S. Highway 66; weekend trips to the desert with his parents Chuck and Jill sealed his love for trains and the open road. Lawrence authored the book Route 66 Railway and his stories and pictures appear in Trains and Railfan & Railroad magazines, the Center’s quarterly journal Railroad Heritage, the NRHS Bulletin, and other publications. 

He will continue to live along California’s central coast with wife Laura, their cats, and a 17-foot Southern Pacific searchlight signal. “El” and Laura are fond of traveling, especially road trips, and favorite destinations include the original Las Vegas in New Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, northern and southern California, New Orleans, and many places they have yet to visit. 

To learn about the Center for Rail Photography & Art, its publications, programs, and collections, visit Lawrence can be reached at elrond(a)

Book shipping update

The first copies of our latest title, The Railroad and the Art of Place: An Anthology, are (finally) shipping on December 3—more than 100 of them! Thanks to everyone for your orders and your patience. With our book distributor short on labor and unable to fulfill our orders right now, our staff members have stepped in to package and ship our books.

Visit our books page to place your order, and check our sale page for great deals on the remaining stock of books we have featured at previous conferences.

We will make every effort to send books ordered by December 13 to you in time for Christmas.

Book orders and shipping delays

We have recently learned that our book distributor has not been able to fulfill any recent orders for our books including The Railroad and the Art of Place: An Anthology owing to insufficient workers at their warehouse. Their managers and sales representatives have been going onto the shop floor to pack and ship books, but they cannot keep up with their current volume.

We have asked them to ship the unopened cartons of our books to the Center’s office, where our staff members and myself will personally package and ship the books to you. We anticipate delivery of the bulk shipment during the week of November 29, and we will get them on their way to you as quickly as possible.

The publication date for The Railroad and the Art of Place: An Anthology was November 1, and we had planned to begin shipping books then. We did not learn the extent of the challenges at our distributor’s warehouse until November 22; had we known earlier we would have stepped in sooner. If you would like a refund, send an email to “info [at]” (replace [at] with @ to send us email); please direct any questions to this same address. We will post any updates here as we receive them.

(Note that this applies only to orders placed directly with us through our website or using one of our mail-in forms. If you ordered from Amazon or elsewhere, you will need to work with them to resolve any delays.)

Thank you so much for your interest in our publications as well as your ongoing patience as we work to resolve our own supply chain challenges—an unfortunate theme of this holiday season.

Sincerely yours,

Scott Lothes
President and Executive Director