The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, located at 901 West Pratt Street in Baltimore, Maryland, is dedicated to “preserve and interpret American railroading," mainly of the Baltimore & Ohio, also known as the B&O Railroad, the Chesapeake & Ohio, the Western Maryland, and other mid-Atlantic railroads.
Generally recognized as the birthplace of American railroading, the museum holds the oldest and most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world.
In late 19th century, a public relations agent organized a trade show exhibit for a major American railroad headquartered in Baltimore. Today, these national treasures of railroad artifacts are exhibited in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, located at the original site of the historic Mt. Clare Shops.
In 1827, the 40-acre museum campus was the site of the B&O Railroad. It was here the first commercial long-distance track, first passenger station, and America's unique railroad was built. In 1927, B&O reached its centennial and was renowned as the oldest continuously operating railroad in the world.
For more than 20 years, the B&O Museum retained its impressive collection in a Roundhouse, once located at the site of Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium – now the home of the Ravens, a pro football team.
The museum’s roundhouse, initially constructed as a passenger car shop, was the largest circular industrial building in the world. Later in July 4, 1953, the railroad opened the B&O Transportation Museum at Mt. Clare.
The museum was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior and became the first of seven museums in America to receive affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution.
Due to heavy snowfall, the half of the museum’s roof collapsed on February 16, 2003. The museum was reopened to the public on November 13, 2004, after repairs were completed.
The museum today displays nearly 200 pieces of locomotives, rolling stock, and historic buildings, which depict the railroad technology history from 1830 to the present day. The architecturally and historically significant railroad buildings and structures such as Mt. Clare Depot (1851); the Roundhouse (1884); the Annex Building (1884), the Baltimore & Ohio Passenger Car Works (1869-1870), the Freight Car Repair Shop (1919), and the original 1.5 mile right-of-way are on display.
Other exhibits include exquisite time-pieces, fine art, presentation silver, uniforms, furniture, personal memorabilia, scale models, and toy trains.
The Hays T. Watkins Research Library of the museum holds an exceptional collection of corporate records, manuscript collections, maps, mechanical and engineering drawings, and trade motion picture films.
The museum campus has state-of-the-art facilities for private gatherings and corporate events. Visitors can also engage in a pump car demonstration, railroad flicks in the theatre car, and train rides along the first commercial railroad track in America. A variety of interpretive and public programs are offered throughout the year.