By Emily Jones
Idaho State Journal
POCATELLO Shayne Stoakes still remembers the distinct
smell of the passenger trains he rode as a child, a faint
diesel odor mixed with the scrumptious smells of food cooking
in the dining car.
He remembers hearing the clicks of the tracks as the train
"The motion of the train is neat," he says. "You
can feel all the weight. It's hard to grasp."
It's those memories and others Stoakes hopes to invoke in
visitors to the Community Corner of "Yesterday's Tomorrows,"
a traveling Smithsonian exhibit on display at the Idaho Museum
of Natural History. Four of Stoakes' paintings are on display
this week, and the exhibit runs through April 24.
Along with the Smithsonian displays, the exhibit features
pieces from the Don Aslett Cleaning Museum, and other local
displays like Stoakes'.
Each of Stoakes' pieces, from the black-and-white of the
8444 steam locomotive traveling through Pocatello to the vividly-colored
picture of a woman standing next to two streamlined trains,
is filled with details, and show how styles of trains developed
over the years.
Detail is vital to his artwork, Stoakes says.
"If you're going to do art of any kind, you've got to
be correct about it," he says. "I'm creating a scene
that someone remembers. It jogs their memories."
In the paintings, visitors can see how trains changed from
the more traditional style of the 8444 to the more futuristic,
streamlined trains of the 1950s.
"The streamlining, that was a big deal," Stoakes
The evolution of trains matches the exhibit, with its study
of how transportation and other ways of life have evolved,
and provide a local angle.
Trains are a vital piece of U.S. and local history, IMNH
Educational Resources Coordinator Rebecca Thorne-Ferrell says.
"This is what built Pocatello and the United States.
This is why we're here," she says.
"Yesterday's Tomorrows," a traveling Smithsonian
exhibit is on display at the Idaho Museum of Natural History.
Four of Shayne Stoakes' paintings are on display this week.
The exhibit runs through April 24.