Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The War Came By Train

The Civil War was the first major conflict where railroads played a prominent role, and the B&O was the major line that straddled a divided country. Between April 19, 1861 (The Baltimore Riot of 1861) and April 21, 1865 (Lincoln’s funeral train leaving Baltimore for Illinois), the B&O stood as witness and participant in the greatest conflict the United States has ever faced. The story that the B&O Railroad Museum can tell better than any other organization on earth is the story of how railroads and railroaders shaped the course of American history during at pivotal moments of the conflict.

The War Came By Train will be the B&O Railroad Museum’s commemoration of 150th anniversary the American Civil War and will feature:

Ø  The National Landmark Roundhouse: The largest assemblage of Civil War railroad equipment in the world including eight locomotives and cars that served during the war, interpretive signage, video presentations, and life-size historic dioramas. Locomotives to be presented include The William Mason (1858), The Thatcher Perkins (1863), The Atlantic (1832), The Memnon (1848), The John Hancock (1835), and the Pioneer (1851). Kid-friendly activities too!
Ø  The Annex Gallery: An exhibition space that will change annually to correspond with a war year (i.e. 2011 will focus on 1861). The exhibits will feature significant artifacts from the Smithsonian’s collection, the museum’s collection, and the collections of other institutions and private collectors in the region. Many of these artifacts will be on public exhibit for the first time.
Ø  Train Ride: A narrated train ride to and from the museum’s Whistlestop Gateway terminal, located in front of the 18th century Mount Clare Mansion and the site of Camp Carroll, the largest Union soldier encampment in Baltimore. Regularly scheduled Civil War reenactment and living history groups will greet guests, convey the life of the soldier, and explain what it was like to travel during the Civil War.
Ø  B&O TV Network and Website: During The War Came By Train, these media will create online access to schedules of events, school-oriented curricula, and programming content directly related to the exhibits at the B&O. The website, which receives more than 3.5 million hits per year, will provide distance access to educational materials, archival images, schedules, and program news. The B&O TV Network, hosted by TV’s Michael Gross, will produce episodes about different ways the railroad impacted the war. 
Ø  Ellicott City Station: The program will include a major exhibit in the museum’s main gallery, monthly scholarly presentations related to railroading during the war, living history interpreters providing educational interactions, special events featuring Civil War period music and Civil War reenactors, and a HO scale model layout that demonstrates the connection between Ellicott City Station, Baltimore, and strategically important transportation fixtures in the surrounding area.
Ø  Symposia and Special Events: Numerous scholarly lectures, public programs and interactive family activities focused on the role of American railroads during the war. Special events will be held throughout the five year celebration, culminating with a national symposium about the role of railroads in war.

The War Came By Train will serve as the B&O’s primary attraction for the five-year commemoration of the war’s sesquicentennial. Between April 2011 and December 2015, we will expose more than 1,000,000 guests to one of the greatest stories our museum and our community has to offer. By making connections between the Civil War and the history of American rail, we will develop important understandings about the role of transportation and industry during the war.

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