Opened in 1995, the American Visionary Art Museum specializes in preserving and displaying outsider art, art created by self-taught and amateur artists with non-traditional themes and/or materials, and visionary art, art that attempts to portray spiritual or mystical themes. The museum has been designated by Congress as America’s national museum for visionary art.
The Baltimore Civil War Museum is situated in the President Street Station, the terminus of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad. Built-in 1849, it witnessed the first bloodshed of the Civil War on April 19, 1861, when Southern sympathizers clashed with Massachusetts volunteers en route to Washington. Before the war, it was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. This museum illustrates Baltimore’s role before and during the Civil War while also covering Maryland’s railroad history.
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art has a collection of over 90,000 objects, including the largest holding of works by Henry Matisse in the world. Visitors can explore the artwork in the 210,000-square-foot 1920s building or explore three acres of modern and contemporary art in the BMA Sculpture Garden.
The Maryland Center for History and Culture collects, preserves, and interprets the history, art, and culture of Maryland. By exploring multiple perspectives and sharing national stories through the lens of Maryland, the MCHC inspires critical thinking, creativity, and community. Educational programming, as well as exhibitions such as “In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812” and “Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War”, support all audiences seeking to learn about how national conflicts intersected with the local context.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture
An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum collects, preserves, interprets, documents, and exhibits the contributions of African American Marylanders throughout history. The museum has over 13,000-square-feet of exhibit space and hosts educational workshops and activities for children and adults daily.
The Walters Art Museum
Address: 600 N Charles Street
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm; Thursday, 10 am – 9 pm
The original collection of the Walters Art Museum was donated by Henry Walters (1848-1931) upon his death “for the benefit of the public.” His 22,000-work collection of Islamic, Russian, and Near East Art has since expanded to include more than 36,000-works that highlight ancient Mediterranean, African, East Asian, Middle Eastern, American, and more artistic works.
The B&O Railroad Museum is the oldest and most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world. Opening in 1953, the B&O Railroad museums highlights how the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company had influenced early railroading development. Their exhibits include original steam locomotives from the 19thcentury and a wide array of rolling stock.
Situated in the Baltimore Harbor, Fort McHenry defended the city from British evasion on September 13-4, 1812, during the War of 1812. During this battle, Francis Scott Key, a local lawyer, was inspired to pen the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which was later set to music and has since become known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Fort McHenry has been designated as a national park since 1925.
Preserved by Poe Baltimore, the Edgar Allan Poe House is the site where Poe wrote several of his early short stories and poems. The house is preserved to remember the life of one of Baltimore’s famous literary legacies.
Historic Ships in Baltimore
Address: 301 East Pratt Street
Admission: $10 - $18 (Check website for details)
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm (Hours vary by season and ship, check the website for details)
Located in Baltimore Harbor, stop and visit the USS Constellation, the LV116 Chesapeake, USS Torsk, USCGC Taney, and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. The ships and lighthouse highlight different portions of Maryland’s naval and maritime history.
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is where Mary Pickersgill with help from her daughter, her niece, and Grace Wisher, an African-American indentured servant, sewed the only official flag with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes in 1813. This flag flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on September 13-14, 1814, and was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which eventually became the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner. This house explores Mary Pickersgill’s life and the legacy of the flag she sewed.
When the Hampton Mansion was completed in 1790, it was the largest private home in America up to that time. Today, the Hampton National Historical Site exhibits the finest example of Georgian architecture in the United States and describes the lives of the Ridgely family that lived there from 1745 to 1948.
Located in the inner Baltimore Harbor, the Maryland Science Center makes science fun and engaging for the whole family with three levels of exhibits, a planetarium, an IMAX theater, and an observatory.
With over 1.5 million visitors a year, the National Aquarium is the largest tourist attraction in Maryland. Home to over 750 species of underwater creations, visitors can watch dolphins play in the water, learn more about jellyfish, and watch fish swimming in over 2.2 million gallons of water.