Though Patrick Morrison studied to be a social studies teacher, his career switched tracks into museum work.
He was well-prepared for the job he was named to last May — director of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.
“I always loved going to museums when I was a kid,” Morrison says. “I always liked to get souvenirs from them. ... I liked to study history, but also to actually see the real history in front of me.
“As a kid, I liked to collect things. So when I went to a small museum like that, I felt at home.”
In addition, he says, “when I was a kid, my grandfather and my father both collected and sold model trains. ... I kind of grew up around it.”
Morrison, a Huntingdon County native, came to the area to attend Millersville University. For three summers, he interned at the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum.
He started volunteering at the museum in 1996 while working as a substitute teacher in the area, and became a museum educator in 1999.
He did graduate work in museum studies and history at the University of Delaware.
“This place just had a natural, welcoming feel,” Morrison says of the Railroad Museum, in which significant new exhibits are due this summer.
“This will be my 22nd year here,” he says. “And no matter who the staff is, it always feels like a family place. I think that speaks well to this museum.”
Where I’m from: Alexandria, in Huntingdon County.
I live in: Landisville.
Education: Master’s degree in history, University of Delaware 1999.
My family consists of: My wife, Andrea; a son, Trevor, 13, and a daughter, Julia, 8, and two cats, Rey and Zoe.
Growing up, I wanted to be: A social studies teacher.
My first job: Pizza Hut.
Best movie I’ve seen recently: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Favorite kind of music: Classic rock and progressive rock.
The best thing about my job: Working with people who I greatly admire and respect and working with a great collection of historic locomotives and rail cars.
The most challenging thing about my job: Meeting my own expectations and overcoming my own limitations.
Something you’ll always find in my refrigerator: Coca-Cola.
Favorite way to spend a day: Going for a good run in the outdoors, especially on a rail trail.
My guilty pleasure: My collection of “Star Wars” collectibles.
The person I’d most like to have dinner with: Barack Obama.
Favorite vacation spot: Rhode Island and Connecticut beaches.
Three words that best describe me: Shy, quiet, introspective.
If someone wrote a book about my life, I would like the title to be: “Life: Either ‘it is what it is,’ or ‘it is what you make of it.’ ”