10 Must-Visit Baltimore Museums: A Guide to Exploring the History of Baltimore and Beyond
Anyone who has lived in Baltimore can attest to its rich history, thriving arts scene, and cutting-edge scientific research. As a result, the city is home to many world-renowned museums that showcase its cultural heritage, artistic achievements, and scientific innovations. If you recently moved into a house in Baltimore or rented an apartment in the city, and you’re interested in art, history, or science, you’re sure to find a Baltimore museum that will satisfy your curiosity.
1. Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) is a world-renowned art museum located on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. It was founded in 1914 and houses an extensive collection of more than 95,000 works of art, including an impressive collection of American, European, and African art, as well as works by contemporary artists. The museum’s collection is particularly known for its outstanding holdings of works by Henri Matisse, including the Cone Collection, which is one of the most significant collections of his works in the world. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions and special events throughout the year, making it a must-visit destination for art lovers and enthusiasts of all ages. The BMA is a cultural hub in Baltimore and offers a range of educational programs and initiatives to engage and inspire.
2. American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is a truly unique museum located in the Federal Hill-Montgomery neighborhood. Founded in 1995, the AVAM is dedicated to showcasing the works of self-taught artists who are often overlooked by traditional art institutions. The museum’s permanent collection features a diverse range of art and artifacts, including sculpture, paintings, textiles, and more. Visitors will be awed by the museum’s stunning architecture, including a shimmering mosaic mirror exterior, and indoor sculptures that tower over visitors.
3, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum is a prominent museum in Baltimore’s Jonestown neighborhood. Named after an accomplished businessman and philanthropist, the museum is dedicated to exploring and celebrating the rich history and culture of African Americans in Maryland and beyond. The museum’s permanent collection features over 10,000 artifacts and documents, including items related to African American history, art, and culture, as well as pieces related to Maryland’s contributions to American history. Visitors can explore the museum’s interactive exhibits, including a re-created slave cabin and a civil rights-era lunch counter, to gain a deeper understanding of the African American experience throughout history.
4. Maryland Science Center
The Maryland Science Center is an engaging and interactive museum located in Baltimore’s Oliver neighborhood. With over 170,000 square feet of space, the museum boasts a wide range of exhibits and hands-on activities that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. The permanent exhibits cover a broad range of scientific topics, including space exploration, the human body, dinosaurs, and more. The highlight of the museum is the Davis Planetarium, which features a 360-degree immersive experience that takes visitors on a journey through the cosmos.
5. National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
Founded in 1983, the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich history and culture of African Americans, with a particular focus on the contributions of Black men and women throughout history. The museum’s permanent collection features over 100 life-sized wax figures, as well as historical and cultural artifacts, that bring to life important moments in African American history. Visitors can take a journey through time, exploring the stories of individuals such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Thurgood Marshall, as well as cultural icons such as Michael Jackson and Beyoncé.
6. The Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum is a world-class art museum located in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. Founded in 1934, the museum is home to an extraordinary collection of art and artifacts from around the world, including ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, medieval illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance and Baroque paintings, Asian ceramics, and much more. The museum’s permanent collection features over 35,000 objects, with some dating back to 5,000 years ago, making it one of the most comprehensive collections of art in the United States. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions and educational programs throughout the year, making it a beloved cultural institution in the city. Visitors to this Baltimore museum are sure to be captivated by the diverse and fascinating range of art and artifacts on display.
7. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum is a fascinating and historic museum located in the Pigtown neighborhood. Established in 1953, the museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history and impact of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which was the first common carrier railroad in the United States. The museum’s collection features over 200 pieces of rolling stock, including locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses, as well as historical artifacts, photographs, and documents related to the railroad’s history. Visitors can explore the museum’s outdoor yard, which includes a replica of the first mile of commercial railroad track, or take a tour of the Roundhouse, which features the museum’s extensive collection of historic locomotives. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions and events throughout the year, including train rides and educational programs for children..
8. Maryland Center for History and Culture
The Maryland Center for History and Culture, located in the heart of Baltimore, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of Maryland. Founded in 1844, the society has an extensive collection of over 350,000 artifacts and documents, including paintings, photographs, furniture, and other objects that reflect the state’s rich heritage. Visitors to the museum can explore exhibits that cover a range of topics, from the state’s role in the Civil War to its impact on the arts and literature.
9. Jewish Museum of Maryland
The Jewish Museum of Maryland is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history and culture of the Jewish community in Maryland. The museum is housed in two adjacent historic synagogues, which have been restored to their original grandeur. Visitors can explore exhibits that cover a range of topics, from Jewish immigration to Baltimore to the experiences of Jewish soldiers during World War II. One of the museum’s highlights is its collection of oral histories, which allow visitors to hear firsthand accounts of life in the local Jewish community. The museum also hosts a variety of programs and events throughout the year, including lectures, concerts, and film screenings
10. Port Discovery Children’s Museum
The museum offers a fun and interactive learning experience for children of all ages. With three floors of exhibits and activities, there’s something for everyone at Port Discovery. Kids can explore a three-story urban treehouse, climb aboard a life-sized cargo ship, and even learn how to cook in the museum’s Tiny’s Diner exhibit. The museum also hosts a variety of special events and programs throughout the year, including storytimes, art workshops, and science demonstrations.