Baltimore Comedy Factory has nonviolently busted guts with nationally sourced joke-slingers for nearly three decades. Several nights a week, the club schedules sets by stars pulled onto the stage fresh from appearances in blockbuster comedies and hit TV shows. Tucked within the Power Plant Live complex, the expansive new location finds room for comfy table seating, a beach-themed bar pouring sodas and cocktails, and an ample supply of super-size prop sunglasses.
Looming 15 stories above the surrounding streets, the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower has been a landmark in Baltimore ever since it was constructed in 1911. Upon completion, this structure?inspired by the design of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy?was the tallest building in the city and served as a symbol of Baltimore's advancement to its creator, the inventor of the titular headache remedy. The Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts decided to preserve this proudly progressive legacy by adapting the layout to create studio spaces for more than 30 visual and literary artists hoping to continue their work within a modernized setting.
Guests can visit the historical clock tower on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as during lightning storms that will send plucky characters back to 1985. Tours enter the structure's clock room, whose faces feature the words "Bromo-Seltzer" instead of numerals, for peeks at the inner workings and vistas that include Camden Yards. During open-studio hours, visitors also have the opportunity to see the artists' workspaces and view nascent pieces in a variety of media, such as oil painting, photography, sculpture, digital art, and charcoal.
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.
While designing the first synagogue in Maryland, architect Robert Cary Long Jr. cleaved to graceful, Greek Revival lines and pillars. In 1845, his vision came to life in the Lloyd Street Synagogue, which welcomed the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. Twenty-six years later, contention among the congregation about reforming its liturgy and ritual led some members to break off and form the Chizuk Amuno Congregation?who built their own Moorish Revival-style synagogue (known today as B?nai Israel Synagogue) right down the street from the first. Today, both places of worship nestle within the campus of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, formed in 1960 to rescue and restore the Lloyd Street Synagogue?which now claims the title of third-oldest standing synagogue in the United States.
The museum has gone beyond just restoring the historic place of worship, which included the preservation of its original 1845 mikveh, a ritual bath. It has built three exhibition galleries that interpret the Jewish-American experience, focusing on Jewish life in Maryland. Art, rare objects, photographs, and oral histories fill these spaces, forming rotating and permanent exhibits that delve into topics such as the symbolism and traditions of Jewish food and the evolution of the Jewish market on Lombard Street. In the lower level of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, a multimedia exhibit explores its three immigrant congregations.
Before leaving, visitors can stop by a gift shop to pick up necklaces with the Star of David, custom kippots, and toys. On the right day, guests can extend their visit to include events, or they can return for educational programming that teaches non-Jewish students about Judaism and guides teens in interfaith dialogues.
The historically curious can also make an appointment to trace genealogical roots at the Robert L. Weinberg Family History Center, found inside the museum?s Anne Adalman Goodwin Library. These form the JMM?s collections and research center, which boasts more than 150 major manuscript collections and 24,000 cataloged photographs.
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.
Attracting more than 170,000 art enthusiasts to its events each year, the Sugarloaf Craft Festivals showcases original work from hundreds of artisans showcasing everything from handcrafted pottery, sculpture, and metalwork to jewelry, fashion, d?cor, and photography. Audiences can witness art being made live during educational demonstrations as artisans sculpt clay, whittle wood, forge metals, and imbue baskets with the power of speech. Hungry crafters can also sniff out specialty food items to sample or purchase while dancing across the sprawling venue to live music.