Tips for Visitors

It almost goes without saying that you should act on the tour as you would whenever you visit the home of a friend or acquaintance. Here are some things to keep in mind as you visit hosts' layouts.

  • Respect their property.         Park where directed and don't block others who have already parked. In the layout area, don't touch or lean on anything without asking. Use appropriate care and caution. Avoid wearing loose clothing and watch for camera or equipment straps which might snag or damage layout details. Do not smoke. Don't take food and drink into the layout room, unless the host has provided or okays it. Ask to take photos or videotape and only take them for your personal use. Commercial photo and video rights belong to the layout owner.

  • Respect their privacy.            Use toilet facilities elsewhere, and don't enter other parts of the house unless the host specifically okays it.

  • Respect their choices.          There are as many approaches to enjoying the model railroad hobby as there are model railroaders! Whatever choices the hosts have made, please respect that it is their choice to make.  You can learn from others and have a great experience even if you would not have made the same choices that they made!

  • Respect their efforts.           People do not have the same skill sets, nor the same goals for modeling. Do not be critical.  If asked by the host for advice, however, advise honestly but with appropriate tact, suggesting that there are many ways to achieve modeling goals.

  • Respect their time.            Do not dominate hosts’ time. Other visitors may have questions or comments, too. If you feel you have a lot to discuss, ask the hosts if you can call, email or write them later.

  • Respect the rights of other visitors.      Do not block the aisles. If the room is too crowded, step outside for a few minutes so that everyone can enjoy the layout. Do not dominate the best viewing areas, either. Let everyone enjoy the layout.

  • Monitor guests’ behavior.    If anyone is accompanying you, monitor their behavior, too. Control your children at all times and do not pick them up and hold them over the layout. Alert the host or a helper if you observe anything that they should be aware of, especially any misbehavior of one of the visitors.

  • Be gracious and kind!            Be the “perfect” guest. Introduce yourself upon arrival and sign the guest book. Thank the host, the host’s spouse, and their helpers early and often for opening the layout for the tour. Show the host that you are enjoying the experience. 

Enjoy your visit while keeping the layout hosts happy and there will be more layouts available to tour in the future!