Jim was perhaps best known around the museum for the tabletop display of miniature stationary steam engines and
steam-driven tools and devices that he helped organize for museum events, including a long string of Depot Days, starting in 1983, and later for Steaming Summer and Railroad Days.
|Higman shares the steam display|
with event-goers in 1990.
He contributed to the museum in many other ways, including as a financial donor to many Spring Fundraisers and Year-End Appeals. Jim loaned the museum his brass steam-locomotive bell for sharing during the Goleta Valley Days parade and several Depot Day events. Jim also donated the original knuckle couplers and ball-bearing trucks that were installed on the first four Goleta Short Line passenger cars.
Jim was also one of the men responsible for building the museum handcar, completed in 1989. He turned and cut the massive 72-tooth bull gear, which came from a 220 lb. slab of solid steel. Jim also collaborated with Gene Allen in creating the companion 10-tooth pinion gear.
Jim became a museum member in 1982. He and wife, Sue, became Life members in 1990, the same year that Jim became a member of the Board of Trustees.