bottom of the Chesapeake Bay to the heavenly heights, from the
prehistoric era to modern space exploration, Southern Maryland is awash
with plenty of places to explore. Plan your summer 'staycation' starting
with our region's fine museums and learn more about this beautiful area
we call home. Please check Web sites or call museums for current fees,
special events and hours of operation.
This 30-acre sculpture park and arts center is located in Solomons. It
features an exceptional collection of outdoor sculpture as well as a new
arts building, which showcases rotating exhibits, a gift shop and a
café. It offers a great collection of programs, special events and art
Bayside History Museum
North Beach, 410-495-8386
Learn about the role the Chesapeake Bay environment played in shaping
the cultures of bayside communities.
Calvert Marine Museum
The Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons is one of the premier museums
devoted to the Chesapeake Bay. The hands-on Discovery Room and the
playful otters draw the elementary school set.
The new "Treasures from the Cliffs" exhibit features the renovated
paleontology hall. It boasts fossil specimens, movies and interactive
touch computers. The showstopper is the 37.5-foot megalodon skeleton!
The "Maritime Patuxent: A River and its People" exhibit recounts human
activity along the Patuxent River. The Mezzanine Gallery features the "Solomons
Island Then & Now" exhibit, which shows changes in the landscape of the
maritime community through side-by-side comparisons of historic
photographs and modern images of the same scenes today.
Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum
Chesapeake Beach, 410-257-3892
This local favorite of history and train buffs is hosting free Thursday
morning children's summer programs. Check out our calendar for their
dates and those of the free 2009 Bay Breeze Concert series.
Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
St. Leonard, 410-586-8500, www.jefpat.org
Explore thousands of years of human history by touring the exceptional
archaeological sites and trails as well as acres of working farmland,
renovated farm buildings and educational museum exhibits. More than 70
archaeological sites have been identified, including the site of the
1814 Battle of St. Leonard Creek, which was the largest naval engagement
in Maryland's history.
Next to Christ Church, Port Republic, 410-586-0161 or 410-326-0486
The more than 100-year-old Port Republic School No. 7 was "authentically
preserved" and filled with memorabilia.
African-American Heritage Society Museum
La Plata, 301-843-0371
A look at historical documents and artifacts depicting the history of
African Americans in Charles County.
American Indian Cultural Center/ Piscataway Native American Museum
The museum highlights the history and culture of the Piscataway and
other native people. Exhibits contain historical and contemporary
artifacts from the Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Northwest and Southwest.
Dr. Samuel Mudd House
When John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's
Theatre, he broke his leg leaping from the president's box to the stage.
Booth fled through Southern Maryland stopping at the house of an
acquaintance, Dr. Samuel Mudd, for medical treatment. Mudd was tried and
convicted as a co-conspirator in the assassination, but was later
pardoned by President Andrew Johnson. The property consists of the house
museum, gift shop, kitchen, exhibit building and some outbuildings on 10
McConchie Schoolhouse/Farm Museum
Charles County Fairgrounds, La Plata, 301-934-9175 or 301-743-7558
The McConchie One-Room African-American School was built in 1912 and
used until 1954. It is furnished with typical desks of the time and
includes books on display.
Port Tobacco Courthouse
Chapel Point Road (off Route 6 west)
Port Tobacco, 301-934-4313
A reconstruction of the third courthouse structure. A previous
courthouse burned in 1892. Tours of the courthouse include stories of
Port Tobacco from 1620 to present by costumed tour guides.
Port Tobacco One-Room Schoolhouse
Port Tobacco, 301-932-6064
This small one-room school, circa 1876, was built just north of Port
Tobacco village on a three-quarter acre parcel where Chapel Point and
Causeway roads intersect. The school was used for 77 years. White
students were enrolled from 1876 to 1924 and from 1924 to 1953 the
school housed black students. The building was then used for 4-H club
Smallwood House Museum
Smallwood State Park
This restored home belonged to Gen. William Smallwood, a Revolutionary
War officer and Maryland's fourth governor.
St. Thomas Manor
Port Tobacco, 301-934-8245
This two-story, seven-bay, brick Georgian-style mansion was built in the
1700s and is considered Maryland's oldest surviving Georgian mansion. It
is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Port Tobacco, 301-392-1776
This restored plantation home was owned by Thomas Stone, one of the
signers of the Declaration of Independence. This home is a National
St. Mary's County
Cecil's Mill Historic District
Great Mills, 301-994-1510
This national landmark was originally a cotton/textile factory in the
1800s, then became a grist mill and saw mill and now serves as a gift
and art store.
Chesapeake Bay Field Lab
Piney Point, 301-994-2245
This non-profit organization offers environmental tours on one of the
state's last skipjacks and an operational oyster-shucking house on St.
Drayden African-American Schoolhouse
This schoolhouse serves as an important and significant symbol of
education in St. Mary's County and in the African American community.
Historic St. Mary's City
St. Mary's City, 240-895-4990
Historic St. Mary's City is the site of Maryland's first capital. It is
an exciting mix of colorful living history and fascinating archaeology,
set in a beautiful tidewater landscape. Lord Baltimore's 17th-century
capital stands ready to be rediscovered. Colorful costumed interpreters
in recreated historic settings tell the stories of Maryland's first
years when St. Mary's City was the colony's capital. Outdoor exhibits
include the reconstructed State House of 1676, Smith's Ordinary and the
Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation - a working colonial farm. Sailors'
stories of the tobacco trade and immigration resound across the deck of
the Maryland Dove, a replica square-rigged ship.
Old Jail Museum
This museum examines artifacts from an original St. Mary's County jail
built in the mid-1800s. The St. Mary's County Historical Society also
stores historic records in the museum. Includes a "lady's cell" and Dr.
Phillip Bean's office used from 1914-1980.
Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
Lexington Park, 301-863-7418
During World War II, the U.S. Navy established a flight-testing center
at Patuxent River in St. Mary's County. Here, major advances in
aircraft, such as the Harrier, Tomcat and Osprey were evaluated. This
museum is the nation's only official Navy museum dedicated to naval
aviation research, development, testing and evaluation. The museum also
has an outdoor aircraft park featuring many of the aircraft that were
actually test vehicles and a museum shop for aviation buffs.
Piney Point Lighthouse and Museum
Piney Point, 301-994-1471
The museum focuses on the operation and construction of the lighthouse,
the U.S. Coast Guard's role and Maryland's first historic shipwreck dive
preserve, which was a German submarine in the Potomac.
Point Lookout State Park Lighthouse & Civil War Museum
This museum is located in Point Lookout State Park. The prison camp once
imprisoned as many as 52,264 Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
The museum site recounts this vivid history.
Hollywood, 301-373-2280, www.sotterley.org
Sotterley Plantation, built in 1703, was once home to Gov. George Plater
III. The plantation offers educational programs and activities to the
public. It showcases the life of the tobacco culture in Southern
Maryland. Sotterley's highlights include beautiful gardens, trails,
meadows and an orchard, as well as a main house, smoke house, spinning
cottage and plantation schoolhouse.
St. Clement's Island Museum
Colton's Point, 301-769-2222
This museum features the history of the voyage of the Ark and the Dove
and the establishment of Maryland as a colony and the vision of George
Calvert to establish a colony that practices religious tolerance. Also
on site is the Little Red Schoolhouse, which represents one of the
hundreds of one-room schoolhouses in which the education system in this
country was established.
St. Clement's Island is also home to the newly rebuilt Blackistone
Lighthouse. Water taxis are available from the museum on weekends and
during special events.
This historic property built in 1778 is the oldest house in Leonardtown.
Now is the time for a new adventure. Take your family and friends out to
experience the history and culture Southern Maryland's museums have to
Editor's Note: We attempted to include all museums in Southern Maryland.
If we missed one, please let us know at somdthisisliving(at)aol.com.