Sightseeing in Baltimore

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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 Pietà. Completing any trip, the museum's Sideshow gift shop stuffs shopping bags with an ever-rotating collection of eclectic artwork, jewelry, toys, and more.

800 Key Highway
Baltimore,
MD
US

1840 became a landmark year for teeth and their owners when the world's very first college of dentistry opened in Baltimore. In 1904, the school moved to a new building on campus at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and in 1996, that historic structure became the country's official monument to the dental profession, the National Museum of Dentistry.

  • Size: about 7,000 square feet?small enough to explore in an afternoon and large enough to fit at least 17 molars
  • Eye Catcher: the massive set of chompers that helps kids practice their brush technique
  • Permanent Mainstay: the dental accoutrements of historic figures, such as Queen Victoria's personal instruments and George Washington's decidedly non-wooden ivory dentures
  • Don't Miss: a tour through the history of toothbrushes that takes visitors back thousands of years using the real life artifacts
31 South Greene Street
Baltimore,
MD
US

Since 1844, Maryland Historical Society has kept residents connected to their state's heritage by publishing educational books and a quarterly magazine. These days, its museum brings that archived history to life with more than 350,000 objects, most notably the oldest-known surviving manuscript of Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner," which includes its original, crossed out title, "Get Ready for Baseball, America." Guests can also marvel at artifacts ranging from 900 pieces of furniture made between 1634 and 2000 to more than 2,000 paintings, including seven by Joshua Johnson, America's first professional African American portrait painter. Meanwhile, its Civil War exhibit occupies more than 5,000 square feet with 3-D video presentations. The society also sponsors extensive educational programs that enlighten young students with field trips, plus adult programs that include lectures, concerts, and symposia.

201 W Monument St
Baltimore,
MD
US

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.

1415 Key Hwy
Baltimore,
MD
US

Created by Steve Geppi, the founder of Diamond Comic Distributors, Geppi's Entertainment Museum traces the evolution of American popular culture from the late 1700s to today with nearly 6,000 artifacts such as comics, dolls, and games. Along with rotating special exhibitions, the museum's permanent galleries each dedicate themselves to a specific period or medium. Rekindle your flame with favorite cultural characters such as Batman, Mickey Mouse, and Barbie as you place them in historical context via the museum's massive memorabilia-based timeline.

301 W Camden St
Baltimore,
MD
US

Featured in the Baltimore Sun, owner Tim McFadden teaches neophytes to design and shape seasonal blown-glass ornaments in hands-on workshops. Duos and quartets of apprentices assemble by a blazing forge to help inflate glass balloons that soon harden into icicle ornaments, pendants, or single-use snowball cores. One-of-a-kind pieces are available to take home the following day.

6802 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore,
MD
US