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Saturday, February 4, 2023

B&O Unveils Model Train Gallery Exhibition Forever Captures 1997 Baltimore

   Calendar year1997 in Baltimore included the Orioles winning the American League Division Series against the Seattle Mariners, and Silver Charm winning the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico vying for the Triple Crown. These unforgettable moments along with attractions which include the Inner Harbor, downtown Baltimore, and across the city north to the suburbs are all captured in an exciting new exhibit at the B&O Railroad Museum. 

   The Model Train Gallery was unveiled to the public on Monday, December 6, 2021, and is a permanent exhibit. The exhibit features a HO scale (a model train layout 3.5 millimeters to one foot used especially for model toys such as automobiles or trains) and is modeled to precision with standard gauge tracks and trains.

   Showcasing Baltimore in 1997, the exhibit was made possible by sponsorship from Bank of America and an anonymous donation and was designed by Jeff Springer of Custom Model Railroads of Baltimore. Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses, and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. 

   “The B&O Railroad Museum’s newest model train gallery allows neighbors and visitors alike to experience historic moments in our city in a unique and fun way,” said Janet Currie, President of Bank of America Greater Maryland. “Bank of America believes in the power of the arts to help educate and enrich communities, and this one-of-a-kind exhibit will help share a piece of Baltimore’s story that has been frozen in time.”

   The B&O Railroad Museum is located at 901 W. Pratt Street in Baltimore and is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of American railroading and its impact on American society, culture, and economy. A full affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum is home to the oldest, most comprehensive collection of railroad artifacts in the Western Hemisphere.

   “We are we are the birthplace of American railroading,” said Kris Hoellen, Executive Director of B&O Railroad Museum. “At times, locomotives can be a little intimidating, so we really support model train layouts, because that provides more accessibility and inclusiveness for some folks, and they’re fun.” 

   She added, “Jeff Springer  of Custom Model Railroads of Baltimore has a client whom he built this model display for who wanted to donate it to us. Given our wanting to provide accessibility and fun we thought it was wonderful. We also wanted to create a Model Train Gallery which we did with the support of Bank of America.”

   The depiction of the American League Division Series at Camden Yards features players perfectly matched for accuracy and the stadium containing 21,000 stick figures hand-painted by Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) students. 

   “Each baseball player is matched to his jersey number from the actual game that was played,” said Hoellen. “The same thing applies to the Preakness depiction. You see Silver Charm on the actual last leg of the race and his exact position. The detail and the level of intricacy is amazing. There’s something for everybody to see. You can’t take it all in in one visit. It’s extraordinary.

   Hoellen said plans are also in the works to add an additional layout to the exhibit.

    “I hope that people really take great civic pride in seeing the beautiful architecture of Baltimore, its amazing sports teams, and its vibrancy,” she said. “It’s a model layout, but it’s a reminder of Baltimore all in one place and just how magnificent the city is. Everyone is welcome to come and view the exhibit, which arrives just in time for the holidays and tour the Museum.”

   In addition to the new exhibition, the Museum has been transformed into a winter wonderland of holiday fun and festive traditions, both new and old including wintry evening train rides. Special events  include Pet Photos With Santa Paws on December 14, 2021; Breakfast With Santa December 17-19, 2021, and Noon Year’s Eve on December 31, 2021. 

   For more information about the exhibit or upcoming events call 410-752-2490 or visit www.BORail.org.


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