A group of former preschool teachers banded together to create Explore & More Hands-On Children's Museum, a space designed to engage visitors—specifically, those between the ages of 2 and 8—with educational play. Located in a vintage 1860s house, the museum consists of seven themed rooms. Guests can glimpse into the past by entering the 1860s room, which houses a historical general store, or learn about hermit crabs, frogs, and other creatures in the nature area. Children experience the power of magnets first-hand in the exploration room, where they can also stand inside a giant soap bubble.
The paranormal investigators and tour guides of After Dark Investigations specialize in small-group tours that provide customers with hands-on experience and equipment. Ghost tourists utilize EMF detectors, dowsing rods, and infrared-video cameras to capture any potential appearance of apparitions. The tours stretch to locations such as cemeteries or abandoned amusement parks near the location of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Baltimore County's history stretches back nearly four centuries, and tracing and chronicling some 350 years of records, artifacts, and photographs is no small task. Just ask the Historical Society of Baltimore County, which houses thousands of historical pieces, including maps, photos, and books in an 1870s almshouse turned research center. The library houses hundreds of maps and primary sources from centuries past.
Mat About You's framing experts, whose work bedecks the walls of the Ritz Carlton, prepare everything from artwork to sports jerseys for eye-pleasing display. They pop pictures into ready-made frames or craft custom frames from their stock of molding to match patrons’ aesthetic sensibilities. Staffers also nestle keepsakes into 3D shadow boxes, help restore damaged photographs, and tap into museum-quality conservation techniques to preserve historic documents and sports memorabilia, such as the first tennis ball ever repurposed for a game of fetch.
Mat About You also boasts an on-site gallery stocked with potential frame fodder, such as original art, limited edition giclée reproductions, and open-edition prints. Customers can add extra pizzazz to their home decor thanks to the store's boutique collection, which brims with jewelry, furniture, pottery and ceramics, and garden adornments.
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.
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.