History of the Museum from B&O Museum website, “In the late 19th century, an overzealous publicity agent developed a trade show exhibit for a major American railroad headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. This exhibit survived the railroad that sponsored it and grew to become a “national treasure” of railroad artifacts. Today, it comprises the collection of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, the oldest, most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world.
Located among Baltimore City’s historic southwest neighborhoods, at the original site of the historic Mt. Clare Shops, the B&O Railroad Museum is recognized universally as the birthplace of American railroading. It was here within the Museum’s 40-acre campus that Baltimore businessmen, surveyors, and engineers set about building the B&O Railroad in 1829, laying the first commercial long-distance track, building the first passenger station, and inventing America’s unique railroad. Railroad work has been conducted at Mt. Clare for over 130 years. And it continues today. A National Historic Landmark, Affiliate of the Smithsonian Museum, and independent educational resource, the B&O Railroad Museum collects, preserves and interprets artifacts related to early American railroading, particularly the Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio, Western Maryland, and other mid-Atlantic railroads to the delight of over 200,000 visitors a year. Nearly 200 pieces of locomotives and rolling stock provide a continuum of railroad technology history from 1830 through the present day, and hundreds of thousands of small artifacts provide a unique glimpse of railroading through tools, exquisite time-pieces, fine art, presentation silver, uniforms, furniture, and personal memorabilia. Additionally, an extensive collection of scale models and toy trains illustrate America’s long fascination with trains and railroading. And the grounds of the Museum encompass significant historic structures, many of which are restored as well as bridges, earthworks, and archaeological resources.”