National History Day Contestant Chooses Baltimore & Ohio Railroad for Three-Year Bid for National Honors.
Tyler Gray lives in Joplin, MO. That is a long way from the B&O Museum in Baltimore. Three years ago, he contacted our guest curator Daniel Carroll Toomey and requested a phone interview as part of his research project. Tyler, then in the seventh grade, was making his first entry into the National History Day competition. The title of his project was “War Rode the Rails: Turning Point in Warfare and America”. Tyler did not advance past the local competition, but he and his family did visit the B&O Museum and continued to pursue his interest in railroading. The following year he entered a second exhibit entitled “Stopped in Their Tracks: The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and Turning Point in U.S. Labor Relations” - a heady concept for an eighth grader to develop. This time he made it to the state finals. Undaunted, this fifteen-year-old student at Joplin High School entered the 2015 competition with an excellent exhibit entitled “John Work Garrett: Life on the Rails: Leadership and Legacy Travels the Tracks”. His determination paid off and Tyler Gray made it all the way to national finals at the University of Maryland. This is a major event held on campus at College Park every June. Students from all over the country compete for top honors under stringent guidelines that include an exhibit, 500-word paper, and numerous reviews by college professors. Just getting there is an achievement unto itself.
Tyler did not win the grand prize, but his vision of railroad history is undeniably beyond his years. We at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum are proud of what he has accomplished and wish him even greater success in the future.