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Jay W. Christopher's Personal Collections

Collecting began in childhood, as a young boy, Jay would eagerly gather, meticulously organize and creatively display his primitive collections.  From his mother's canned goods in the pantry to discarded Christmas trees in his parent's backyard to metal toy soldiers, Jay found great joy and pride in assembling collections that capture fond memories, preserve history, and represent hard-work.  

Jay's first job in high school was at the local hardware store, Dressel's Ace Hardware, in Oak Park, Illinois.  He thoroughly enjoyed organizing the many little drawers of nuts, bolts, nails and shelf displays keeping inventory stocked and perfectly in line.  This experience and his natural inclination for collecting was foundational to his career success in inventory management and warehouse operations.  

For many years, Jay diligently saved objects of corporate history and product development at the companies he worked at.  Most significant was the preservation of his family's entrepreneurial start-up company's history, The Pampered Chef. 

Today, Jay continues to be a collector and preserver of history as his passion extends to  eras of industrial ingenuity and innovation. The following collections are housed at Jay's private residence for his enjoyment and are shared with the public through temporary exhibits.

Railroad Collection

The Railroad Collection at the Christopher Transportation Museum is the museum’s first collection. The Railroad Collection proudly presents a wonderful narrative that includes every aspect of early railroading in the United States and abroad. From the tools and lanterns used by train crew members, to the exquisitely detailed ceramic dining china used in the impressive dining cars, to the menus and recipe books used by the kitchen and dining car staff, the Christopher Transportation Museum’s Railroad Collection allows visitors to get a first hand look at what it was like to work, travel, and most importantly eat on illustrious trains.


Airline Collection

The Christopher Transportation Museum’s Airline Collection represents the passenger experience during the golden age of air travel. In comparison to air travel today, the airline collection showcases the grandeur of flight through artifacts like uniquely patterned dining china, ashtrays, silverware, glassware, advertisements, and photographs from both well-known and obscure airlines found around the globe. The collection offers visitors the chance to view wonderful pieces from airlines such as Pan Am, TWA, United Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, and even Air Force 1, Marine 1, and Air Force 2.


Airship Collection

The Christopher Transportation Museum is home to the Townsend & Wolfe Zeppelin Collection, and integral part of the Christopher Transportation Zeppelin Collection. This collection preserves the historical significance of the Zeppelin Company as it weaved through the military conflicts of World War I and World War II. As the first aircraft capable of controlled flight, Zeppelins were known as a symbol of power, inspiration, and advancement to many. The collection contains a vast array of artifacts ranging from medals and postcards to a ceramic pitcher and platter that both survived the infamous crash of the mighty Hindenburg in 1937.