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Upon arrival, attendees will receive a card describing the circumstances of a child who actually rode the Orphan Train. After a brief introduction, participants take a 14-minute ride around the museum’s track as two improvisers acting as chaperones treat them like orphans. When participants disembark, improvisers portraying the Midwesterners will inspect, judge and decide whether a rider is worthy of adoption.

The goal is to let participants step into the shoes of displaced children who have little control over what happens to them. While the external circumstances of the Orphan Train children are different, the inner turmoil and emotional impact are similar to the feelings of the immigrant children taken at the border and older foster care children waiting to find permanent homes.

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