Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

One of the original 13 colonies that broke from British rule to form the United States, Maryland formally became a state in 1788. At the time of European contact, its inhabitants were predominantly Algonquian-speakers, with English settlements appearing along the coast in the 17th century, including one designed for English Roman Catholics escaping persecution. The name “Maryland” was subsequently adopted in reference to Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I. The state’s northern border became the Mason-Dixon Line and was widely regarded as the border between the northern and southern states, with Maryland becoming a contested zone in the American Civil War, occupied largely by Union forces but also facing several Confederate attacks.

Archaeology & History Sites in Maryland

Fort McHenry

A pentagonal bastion fort located on the coast, Fort McHenry in Baltimore was built between 1798 and 1800. In 1814, when the U.S. was in conflict with Britain during the War of 1812, the fort successfully repelled an attack by the British Navy. The display of the U.S. flag over the fort following the battle inspired the country’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Reenactors in period costume man the fort.

Fort Washington Park

Built in 1824, Fort Washington defended the approach to Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River. It was erected near to an older fort which the U.S. Army destroyed to prevent it falling into British hands during the War of 1812. After the Second World War, Fort Washington no longer served any military function. A visitor’s centre sets out the site’s history for visitors. Surrounding the fort are a number of battery stations, including Battery White, Battery Many and Battery Emory.

Washington Monument State Park

Named for the stone tower erected in 1827 by the residents of Boonsboro, this was the first monument dedicated to U.S. President George Washington to be finished. The tower measures 40 feet in height. During the Civil War the Union Army used it as a signal station. Given the monument’s position at the top of South Mountain, in September, and other months, this is a popular spot for watching migratory birds. The visitors centre for the  South Mountain State Battlefield, the first major Civil War battle fought in Maryland, is located in Washington Monument State Park.

Museums & Art Galleries in Maryland

Calvert Marine Museum

The Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons brings together a range of artefacts, boats and sights related to the heritage of this region. This includes natural history collections exploring palaeontology, exhibits looking at the maritime heritage of the communities who lived here, as well as the histories of those living around the estuaries of the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay. Among its collection is the J. C. Lore Oyster House and the Drum Point Lighthouse. Temporary exhibits supplement the main displays.

Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum

Edgar Allen Poe was perhaps the most famous American writer of the 19th century. This red-brick structure, an example of a row home, was occupied by Poe for about two years during the 1830s, shortly after it was built. Opened as a museum in 1949, Poe House displays several objects associated with the famous man, including his portable writing desk and chair. Various events take place throughout the year.

Jewish Museum of Maryland

The Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore delves into the history of the Jewish community in both Maryland and the wider United States. Established in 1960, the museum preserves two historic synagogues, the Lloyd Street and B’nai Israel, both of which were built in the 19th century. It is also home to the largest collection of material pertaining to Jewish American life in the country. Various temporary exhibits supplement the permanent displays. Currently closed, with a planned re-opening in summer 2024.