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Last updateThu, 23 Aug 2018 12am

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    Tuesday, August 21, 2018-9:41:21A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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NMI Museum to unveil ‘mini-train’ during Liberation parade

THE NMI Museum of History and Culture will unveil its newest attraction — a colorful miniature “train” — during the Liberation parade on Saturday.

“We are trying to build the interest of local residents in the museum,” museum executive director Danny Aquino said.

The “train” is an old lawn mower and six cars made of prefabricated, painted drums donated by Rep. Ivan Blanco.

Aquino said the idea for the “train” was suggested by his staffers Allan Lifoifoi and James Macaranas.

“They went to a fiesta on Guam and saw a mini-car. They took a picture of it. Then they converted a 55-gallon plastic drum into a mini-car. We couldn’t get any plastic drums here so we opted for steel drums,” Aquino said.

The mini-train will roam the museum and nearby areas and provide joyrides to children or adults.

“It’s free for now. But in the future we will probably charge a fee,” Aquino said.

The mini-train was made by Motion Auto. “The total cost was $1,800, but Motion Auto gave us a $500 discount bringing the cost down to $1,300,” Aquino said.

The cost included the repainting and maintenance of the museum’s old mower, metal fabrication and cut-outs of the drums, and the conversion of the drums into mini-cars.

NMI Museum Executive Director Danny Aquino and staffers Wenny Haruc and Allan Lifoifoi pose with the mini-train.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. LirioNMI Museum Executive Director Danny Aquino and staffers Wenny Haruc and Allan Lifoifoi pose with the mini-train. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

“We believe we will be able to recoup the cost of the mini-train quickly,” Aquino said.

He noted that the museum has another old lawn mower. “So if the need arises for an additional mini-train, we will do it.”

He said the museum has also repainted and upgraded its 1997 Toyota Tacoma truck and 2002 Nissan Frontier which was donated by Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter.

“We are grateful for the generous donation,” Aquino said. “Secretary Robert Hunter was amazed at the transformation and couldn’t believe that it was the same truck he donated.”

The 1997 Toyota Tacoma was also donated to the museum, Aquino added.

“The truck was rusted out and ugly, but after we had the body work and paint job done along with new rims and tires, the two trucks are now two of the nicest trucks in the government fleet. All our trucks are cleaned, maintained daily and serviced quarterly. Our goal is to take care of all museum property because the funding we have is very limited.”

Aquino said buying two new trucks would have cost the museum over $60,000.  The cost of the paint jobs, rims and tires for both trucks were under $13,000 — a savings of $47,000, he added.

“Our trucks have been at the street market passing out our brochures. We are going to the market to promote the museum.”

Aquino thanked Rep. Ivan Blanco for donating the drums for the mini-train.

“I also want to thank our 2018 sponsors: Chris Concepcion and the Marianas Visitors Authority team, Ricky Delgado, Rose Soledad and the IT&E team, Joe, Marcia, Joe Jr. and the McDonald’s team, Mr. Yasuda and the staff of Pikasso Inc., Rene and Jennell and the Motion Auto Team, Saipan Mayor David Apatang, Secretary Robert Hunter, Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres and the museum board.”