The Baltimore Experience Exploring the City Baltimore Museums
Throughout the city is a constellation of museums that tell unique stories about Baltimore, its people, and its places. With such a variety, it’s easy to find an experience that captures interest and ignites the imagination.
Lose Yourself in a Masterpiece
Baltimore is home to three outstanding art museums: the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, and the American Visionary Art Museum. The Walters, housed in three buildings along Mount Vernon Place, is noted for its collections of ancient artifacts, medieval armor, and Asian art. The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland’s largest art museum, is best known for the Cone sisters’ important collection of early 20th-century art work. It also contains collections of American decorative arts, including 18th-century furniture from Baltimore, and African, American, and Oceanic native artwork. The American Visionary Art Museum is just steps from the Inner Harbor and focuses on the works of intuitive, untrained artists, both local and international.
Transport Yourself… Literally!
Take a sentimental journey to the golden age of railroading at the B&O Railroad Museum. With one of the world’s oldest and most comprehensive collections of railroad history, visitors can see, touch, hear and explore the magic of the rails. Visitors can see how Baltimoreans used to get around at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. Open on weekends, the museum operates a number of streetcars and is dedicated to preserving Baltimore’s public transportation history. Those desiring a more fluid experience can explore the Historic Ships in Baltimore, a collection of significant vessels spanning centuries of seafaring. Climb aboard the USS Constellation, the U.S. Navy’s last sail-powered vessel. Dive into history on the USS Torsk (a World War II-era submarine), the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Taney, and the lightship Chesapeake.
Live It Up (Historically)
The city has several fascinating house museums that show how Baltimoreans lived in previous generations. The Carroll Mansion was the winter townhome of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last living signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The Mount Clare Museum House is a grand mansion built in 1760 and once the center of a bustling 800-acre farm and industrial complex. The Robert Long House and Museum is the oldest urban home in Baltimore and a landmark of the Fell’s Point neighborhood. There are no horrors, just fascinating history, at the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. Poe lived in the house from 1833 to 1835 with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins. Not far from the Poe House is the Irish Railroad Workers Museum, a series of modest alley houses where workers from the B&O Railroad lived. The humble rowhouse where Babe Ruth was born is now a museum dedicated to the Sultan of Swat and baseball in Baltimore.
Immerse Yourself in African American Culture
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2005, features permanent and special exhibitions on the traditions, culture, and experiences of African Americans in Maryland and Baltimore. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is the nation’s only wax museum dedicated to African Americans. It portrays people who have had an important role in the history of African Americans. The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Fell’s Point is dedicated to African American maritime history.
Best Bets for Baltimore History
If time is short, try a trifecta of Baltimore museums for a taste of the city’s history. The Maryland Historical Society has permanent and special exhibitions on significant facets of both city and state history. The Baltimore Museum of Industry is a unique place. Housed in a former oyster canning facility, the BMI is dedicated to sharing the city’s manufacturing history with recreations of a print shop, garment factory, cannery, machine shop and a pharmacy. A trip to Charm City isn't complete without a stop at the B&O Railroad Museum, a favorite of all ages that celebrates America's railroad legacy.