The Baltimore Museum of Industry highlights the workers and small businesspeople whose contributions during the Industrial Revolution and beyond helped build the country?s framework. Visitors can take a gander at the museum?s 100,000-object collection?including an 1850s shipyard bell and an 1820s Acorn printing press?and romp through bygone eras, dropping by sites including the recently renovated 1865 Platt Oyster Cannery and a reproduction of the 1910 pharmacy where Noxzema was invented. Just beyond the interior walls lies the last operating steam tugboat in the nation, the coal-fired SS Baltimore, as well as the 1937 Mini-Mariner, a prototype for the WWII flying boat bomber, two pieces of aquatic history more inspirational than a sailor's duffle filled with Popeye quotes.
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Parking: Parking garage
Pro Tip: Please leave plenty of time for parking. Bring your government-issued ID for our pub tour.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
We're a locally run and locally owned business.
I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
Tours run rain or shine, so bring an umbrella if the weather looks bad.
Have you ever been a patron of your own business? If so, what was the most enjoyable part?
Yes. I loved hearing how the guides personalized the stories by adding anecdotes from their own experiences. Many of our guides have been with us for years.
The American Visionary Art Museum devotes its space to original work by self-taught artists who honed their craft?often unintentionally?while operating on the outskirts of the formal art world. As temporary exhibitions explore a particular artist or theme in depth, the permanent collection displays thousands of powerful and often whimsical items, such as Andrew Logan's mirror-winged Black Icarus, or the haunting Applewood Figure, an emaciated sculpture said to wince whenever someone eats a piece of fruit. The museum spreads its arresting pieces throughout three historical buildings, including the expansive main building, which boasts a reflective mirrored-mosaic exterior and neighbors the Tall Sculpture Barn, an ex-whiskey warehouse fully equipped with 45-foot ceilings for large-scale projects. A wildflower garden?complete with meditation chapel?and a sculpture plaza featuring a 55-foot whirligig beckon visitors to the museum's outdoor space, where envious clouds shape themselves into crude versions of Piet?. Completing any trip, the museum's Sideshow gift shop stuffs shopping bags with an ever-rotating collection of eclectic artwork, jewelry, toys, and more.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 25?50
Parking: Parking garage
Most popular offering: African-American art, history, culture
Pro Tip: $6 validated parking is directly across the street at the PMI Parking Garage.
Good for Kids: Yes
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum celebrates the achievements of African Americans, especially those from Maryland?which often means expanding on grade-school history lessons. For instance, Betsy Ross is typically credited with making the first American flag. However, one of the museum's rotating exhibits reveals that Grace Wisher, an African American indentured servant, also worked on the original star spangled banner. Dubbed "For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People," that exhibit was recognized as one of the country's best in the summer of 2014 by USA Today?in part because it featured a scrap of the real, first flag, covered in the bald eagle feathers that filled the air back then. That's just one of the myriad rotating exhibits that the museum has hosted, to complement permanent collections that highlight Maryland African Americans' endurance through two centuries of slavery, and their artistic and intellectual innovations.
What sets your business apart from your competition?
A Smithsonian affiliate, the museum is the east coast?s largest African-American museum. Besides rotating exhibitions, enjoy live musical performances from gospel jazz to steel drums. Films in our theater have enriched audiences on the history of soul food, civil rights, and more. For families, programs like art workshops and living history bring our mission to life. Lectures and our resource center enrich what you'll find in our permanent collection. We also nourish the body with the best soul food in Baltimore at our museum cafe. Visit our website for a full calendar of events.
What was the inspiration for starting this business?
To showcase the rich contributions of Maryland African Americans, from Harriet Tubman and Thurgood Marshall to the unsung heroes who helped make Maryland what it is today.
What?s your favorite part about your job?
Having people experience something new, different, and enriching to their lives.
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House was built in 1793, originally owned by the Young-Pickersgill family. Mary Pickersgill, maker of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag, is among the historical figures portrayed. Mary and her family?including her mother, Rebecca Young, and her apprentice, Grace Wisher?describe life in the 19th century and how Mary stitched the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem and the national anthem.
After exploring the house on 30- to 40-minute self-guided or docent-led tours, guests can learn about America's defense of the Chesapeake Bay against the British navy, which culminated in the battle that inspired Key's verse. The first floor's permanent exhibition gallery focuses on that defense with artifacts such as a drum used by an American soldier during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry. Kid attendees, meanwhile, can head over to the Discovery Gallery to whip up a pretend meal at a replica of the Flag House kitchen or design their own flag to string up on the gallery's flagpole.
Few other places, if any, offer the panoramic views of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay afforded by Top of the World. Located on the 27th floor of the Baltimore World Trade Center, the observatory features unimpeded 360-degree views that look out onto the city and its historic Inner Harbor. But no picture of Maryland's urban center would be complete without a zoom-in on its people. Here, that's provided by local guides who reveal fascinating facts and personal reminiscences about the city. They also dole out mini history lessons about Baltimore's most famous residents, including star Ravens quarterback Edgar Allen Poe.