Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 25–50
Parking: Parking garage
Most popular offering: African-American art, history, culture
Pro Tip: $7 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.
Q&A with Helen Yuen, Director Of Marketing
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 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.
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.
Ripley’s has enthralled audiences for more than nine decades with its dedication to revealing odd and unexplainable rarities from around the globe. But it all began with one man: Robert Ripley, a wildly successful and eccentric character who rose to fame during the first half of the 20th century. After selling his first cartoon to Life magazine at age 14, he set out on a quick-paced career of drawing sports cartoons for the New York Globe. During a slow day at the office, he sketched nine unusual sporting events and finished his work with a title: “Believe It or Not!” It became immensely popular, allowing Ripley to travel the world in search of more bizarre stories to put into his comic strips. While visiting relatively unknown areas in locales such as India, China, and the inside of his neighbor’s chimney, he picked up a slew of unbelievable souvenirs that later became fixtures in several of Ripley’s museums, or as they’re affectionately called today, Odditoriums. Ripley’s now encompasses publications, attractions, a television show, and a blog, all of which carry Ripley’s tradition of reporting on the world’s curiosities.
Whether you need help waking up in the morning or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, the coffee at Station North Arts Cafe Gallery in Charles North will do the trick.
At this coffee shop, everyone will find something they love — kids included!
At Station North Arts Cafe Gallery, you won't have to wait for your large or small group to be seated.
Drift away from stuffy dress-code conventions and dine in comfort at Station North Arts Cafe Gallery.
Leaving the couch is half the battle. Your foods awaits your pickup at this coffee shop.
If you need to feed a big crowd, Station North Arts Cafe Gallery also offers catering services for parties and get-togethers.
At Station North Arts Cafe Gallery, you can count on quick and easy street parking close by.
For those who travel by bike, Station North Arts Cafe Gallery offers bike racks for diners.
The grub at Station North Arts Cafe Gallery is also a downright bargain — most people can chow down for less than $15.
When you have a long and busy day scheduled, head on over to Station North Arts Cafe Gallery and enjoy a cup of Joe.