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St. Mary's is the 4th oldest British city in North America and was settled in 1649. It served as the capital of the colony of Maryland until 1695. Today a park preserves replicas of many of the original buildings of St Mary's.
Updated Apr 12, 2013
Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the Baltimore Museum of Art now has over 90,000 works of art in its collections, making it the largest art museum in Maryland. Among the highlights of the museum's pieces is the world's largest collection of works by Henri Matisse, and the Cone Collection, which was donated by sisters Claribel and Etta Cone and has works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
The museum is housed in a building located in Wyman Park north of downtown Baltimore. The building was constructed between 1927 and 1929 in the style of a Roman Temple. It has three floors of exhibit space, including rooms that are exact replicas of rooms from six historic Maryland houses.
The museum's collections are divided into categories that include African Art, American Art, Antioch Mosaics, Art of the Ancient Americas, Art of the Pacific Islands, Asian Art, and European Art.
The African Art collection is made up of over 2,000 objects that span from ancient Egypt to contemporary Africa, and includes headdresses, masks, carvings, royal staffs, textiles, jewelry, ceremonial weapons, and pottery. The American Art collection is one of the largest in the world, and includes landscape paintings, American impressions, and modernism. One of the highlights is a 200-piece collection of eighteenth- and early twentieth-century silver made by Maryland silversmiths. The collection of Antioch Mosaics comes from an excavation of the ancient city of Antakya in southeastern Turkey, and includes 34 pavements. Objects from five distinct artistic traditions make up the Art of the Ancient Americas collection, and include pieces from the Olmec, Aztec, Maya, Nicoya, Chimú, and Muisca cultures of Central America and South America. Several cultures from the south Pacific regions of Melanesia and Polynesia are represented in the Art of the Pacific Islands collection. Works include jewelry, ornaments, and tapa cloths. The 1,000-piece Asian Art collection contains works from China, Tibet, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, and the Near East. And finally, the European Art collection spans from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, and includes paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, porcelain, and silver.
Updated Aug 6, 2012
Established in 1934 and originally called the Walters Art Gallery, the Walters Art Museum contains the collections amassed by William Thompson Walters and his son, Henry Walters. William Thompson Walters began collecting art after he moved to Paris at the outbreak of the American Civil War. Henry Walters later added to the collection, and in 1909 housed it in the plazzo-style building on Charles Street in which the collection is still located. Upon his death, Henry Walters bequeathed the collection and its building to the City of Baltimore for the purpose of sharing the works of art with the public.
The 22,000-piece collection is divided into categories based on different ages and areas of the world. The exhibits on Ancient Art include pieces from Egypt, Nubia, Greece, Rome, Etruria, and the Near East. Works in Art of the Ancient Americas are from the Olmec, Aztec, and Mayan cultures in Central America, and the Moche and Inca cultures in South America. The Asian Art exhibit includes Japanese arms and armor, as well as Japanese and Chinese porcelains, laquerware, and metalworks. Islamic Art is represented by Mamluk works from Egypt, Moghul pieces from India, Turkish tileworks, and Islamic manuscripts. Pieces in the Medieval Art collection include metalworks, sculptures, stained glass, textiles, icons, and paintings. The Renaissance and Baroque exhibit contains paintings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics, metalworks, and arms and armor. And finally, the Eighteenth and Twentieth Century Art works include paintings by French masters and impressionists such as Claude Monet and Édouard Manet, Art Nouveau jewelry by René Lalique, and jewelry by Carl Fabergé, including two jeweled Fabergé eggs.
The building that houses the collection of the Walters Art Museum was built between 1904 and 1909. It was designed by architect William Adams Delano. The exterior was inspired by the Hôtel Pourtalès in Paris, and the interior was inspired by the Palazzo dell'Università in Genoa.
Updated Aug 6, 2012
Baltimore has historically been one of the major centers of industry and manufacturing in the United States. The city had the country's first passenger railroad service, the world's largest copper refinery, the first traffic light, and the oldest gas company in the United States. The Baltimore Museum of Industry was founded in 1977 to celebrate the city's industrial and manufacturing history.
Housed in an old cannery, the museum has more than 100,000 items on display that document various types of manufacturing and industry from the early twentieth century. Exhibits include the Baltimore, the oldest surviving steam tugboat, as well as recreations of a cannery, garment loft, machine shop, and Dr. Bunting's Pharmacy. (Dr. George Bunting was the inventor of the Noxema skin-care products). In addition, there are exhibits on Baltimore's early food industry which feature such companies as McCormick (a company specializing in spices), Domino Sugar, and Esskay (a meat-packing company). The Milestone Wall in the Decker Gallery documents the industrial inventions and processes that were made in Baltimore.
The museum's library has over 5,000 rare and old books about all the major industries in Baltimore, and its photographic collections contain more than 250,000 prints and negatives.
Visitors can take self-guided or guided tours of the museum, and children can enjoy several hands-on exhibits that teach them about industry and manufacturing.
Updated Aug 6, 2012
Designed by French architect Jean Foncin, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine was constructed in 1798 to protect the vitally important Port of Baltimore from enemy attack. Its design is in the form of a five-pointed star surrounded by a dry moat. The fort is situated at the tip of Locust Point, which juts into the opening of Baltimore Harbor. It was named in honor of James McHenry, a Scots-Irish immigrant soldier and surgeon who served as Secretary of War under President George Washington.
Fort McHenry is most noted as the inspiration for the poem, The Star-Spangled Banner, which was eventually set to the tune of To Anacreon in Heaven to become the national anthem of the United States. During the War of 1812, Fort McHenry was continuously bombarded by the British navy for 25 hours between September 13 and 14, 1814. The fort withstood the bombardment and held Baltimore Harbor.
A lawyer from Washington, D.C., Francis Scott Key, was in Baltimore to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes, a civilian prisoner of war. He watched the bombardment from the deck of a nearby truce ship. An oversize American flag had been raised over Fort McHenry in anticipation of a British attack. When Francis Scott Key saw the flag emerge intact after the bombardment, he was moved to compose a poem entitled The Defence of Fort McHenry, which later became The Star-Spangled Banner and the national anthem of the United States.
During the American Civil War, Fort McHenry was used as a prison to house captured Confederate soldiers, as well as Maryland politicians who were suspected of having Confederate sympathies. The fort also served as a hospital during the First World War and a Coast Guard base to protect Baltimore Harbor during the Second World War.
Fort McHenry was designated a National Monument and Historic Shrine, the only place in the nation with such a designation. It has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a tradition that when a new national flag is designed, it is first flown over Fort McHenry. Thus the 49-star flag and 50-star flag were first flown here after Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the union as states.
Updated Jun 29, 2012
The Maryland Science Center opened in 1976, and underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2004. It is operated by the Maryland Academy of Sciences which was founded in 1797, making it the oldest scientific institution in the state, and one of the oldest in the country. The museum has three levels of exhibits, a planetarium, an observatory, and an IMAX Theater. Its displays are designed to teach visitors about such scientific subjects as physical science, space, earth science, the human body, and the natural world.
The Dinosaur Mysteries exhibit has full-scale models of the bodies of Astrodon (the Maryland state dinosaur) and Acrocanthosaurus, as well as full-scale replicas of the skeletons of Gigantosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Herrerasaurus, Tarbosaurus, and Compsognathus. A mock paleontological dig allows visitors to uncover dinosaur bones. The Newton's Alley exhibit offers hands-on physical-science demonstrations. The exhibit entitled Your Body features a tour through the inside of a human body. Our Place in Space explores different aspects of the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe. The Davis Planetarium is part of this exhibit. Information about the Maryland blue crab and other aquatic creatures native to Chesapeake Bay is in the Follow the Blue Crab exhibit. The Demonstration Stage has live demonstrations about such scientific principles as inertia, static electricity, liquid nitrogen, chemical reactions, combustion reactions, and space technology, to name but a few. And finally, the Kids Room is for children eight years old or younger, and has a water table, mock ship, and other activities.
Updated Jun 29, 2012
Part of the Historic Ships in Baltimore exhibit, the U.S.S. Constellation is a sloop-of-war that was constructed in 1854 for the United States Navy. She was the second American naval ship named the Constellation. The first, a frigate, was disassembled at the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virgina, the same yard where the present Constellation was constructed. Recycled materials from the frigate were probably used in the construction of the sloop-of-war.
The U.S.S. Constellation was the last sail-only ship designed and built for the United States Navy. Her length is 199 feet (61 meters) overall, and 181 feet (55 meters) at the waterline. Her beam is 43 feet (13 meters) at its widest point. She had a complement of 20 officers, 220 sailors, and 45 marines.
Between 1855 and 1858, the U.S.S. Constellation mainly performed diplomatic duties as part of the United States Navy Mediterranean Squadron. She served as the flagship of the United States Navy African Squadron between 1859 and 1861, when she intercepted ships illegally involved in the slave trade. In the late 1800s, the U.S.S. Constellation was involved in various duties, including carrying famine relief to Ireland and carrying exhibits to the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878. During the First World War, the ship was used by the United States Naval Academy as a training ship on which over 60,000 midshipmen received training.
The U.S.S. Constellation was decommissioned in 1933 but was soon to be recommissioned by President Franklin Roosevelt as a national symbol. She was decommissioned a second and final time in 1955. She was moved to her present location, a permanent berth in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, in 1963, at which time she was designated a National Historic Landmark. And she was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
Nowadays, the U.S.S. Constellation is a museum ship open to the public. Visitors can take self-guided tours or tours conducted by knowledgeable staff.
Updated Jun 29, 2012
Baltimore's Inner Harbor is made up of the upper reaches of Baltimore Harbor, an inlet of Chesapeake Bay, and the mouth of the northwest branch of the Patapsco River. The term "Inner Harbor" refers not only to the harbor itself, but the surrounding area of the city that has been developed into a major tourist attraction.
The Inner Harbor made Baltimore a major American seaport as early as the 1700s, but its shallow waters (prior to dredging) were not conducive to large ships or heavy industry, most of which was concentrated at Locust Point, Fell's Point, or Canton, areas outside of Baltimore itself. Baltimore's port therefore declined, and the Inner Harbor was eventually dominated by abandoned buildings and rotting piers.
Begininning in the 1950s, most of these abandoned buildings were torn down and replaced by open, grass-covered parks that were used for recreation and large-scale events. Eventually the whole Inner Harbor was developed into a world-class attraction, with parks and plazas surrounded by office buildings, hotels, restaurants, museums, sports venues, and other tourist attractions. The successful development of the Inner Harbor became a model of urban planning which influenced over 100 other cities across the world, and which won over 40 national and international awards for large-scale urban design and development.
Updated Jun 29, 2012
Opened in 1981, the National Aquarium was one of the first major developments that helped spawn the renewal of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The aquarium contains about 16,500 specimens representing 660 species. Its mission is to inspire the conservation of the world's aquatic treasures.
The building was designed by architect Peter Chermayeff of Peter Chermayeff, LLC. There is 115,000 square feet (10,684 square meters) of exhibit space in three pavilions, the Pier 3 Pavilion (which has most of the main exhibits), the Pier 4 Pavilion (which has exhibits about the various species of jellyfish and how environmental change affects them), and the Glass Pavilion (which has an exhibit about the wildlife of Australia). Overall, there are about 1,000,000 gallons (3,785,412 liters) of water contained in the aquarium's various tanks and pools.
The Pier 3 Pavilion has five levels, each with a different theme. Level 1 contains the Wings in the Water exhibit, which features mainly various kinds of stingrays, but also sharks and sea turtles. The Maryland: Mountains to the Sea exhibit takes up Level 2. It features both fresh- and salt-water species native to Maryland. Level 3 has the Surviving Through Adaptation exhibit which teaches about sea creatures that possess adaptations to survive. The Sea Cliffs, Kelp Forest, Pacific Coral Reef, and Amazon River Forest exhibits are located on Level 4. Each exhibit displays aquatic species, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians that inhabit the respective habitats. Finally, Level 5 contains the Upland Tropical Rain Forest and Hidden Life exhibits. These exhibits also feature birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
The Glass Pavilion contains the Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit. It replicates a river gorge in Australia's Outback, and features aquatic species, reptiles, and amphibians. There is also a walk-in aviary that features Australian birds.
Updated Jun 29, 2012
The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum features exhibits about the life and career of George Herman "Babe" Ruth, America's first sports celebrity and arguably the greatest baseball player who ever lived. During his baseball career, which spanned 22 seasons, Babe Ruth played for three teams (the Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees). He spent most of his career with the New York Yankees, a team he led to seven pennants and four World Series titles. He set records for the most home runs (714), slugging percentage (.690), runs batted in (2,217), and on-base plus slugging (1.164).
Babe Ruth was born in 1895 in the row house typical of Baltimore architecture of the early 1800s. The house was leased by his grandfather, Pius Schamberger, and the Babe never actually lived in the house. His family lived a few blocks away over a tavern owned and operated by his father, George Herman Ruth, Sr.
In the 1960s, the building had fallen into disrepair and was scheduled to be demolished. However, the mayor's office successfully campaigned to save and restore the house. The house and museum, which is administered by the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, opened to the public as a national shrine in 1974. Exhibits depicting the life and career of Babe Ruth were acquired and installed with the help of his wife Claire, his daughters Dorothy and Julia, and his sister Mamie.
Exhibits include the 500 Home Run Club which features baseballs, uniforms, pictures, and other memorabilia from players who hit 500 home runs or more. Babe Ruth had hit 714 home runs, a record which was exceeded only twice, and only 25 players have ever hit 500 or more home runs. The Babe Ruth Batted Here exhibit displays memorabilia from the Babe's childhood including a bat, catcher's mitt, jersey, shoes, and a hymnal book used by him at Saint Mary's Industrial School for Boys. The Babe: Husband, Father, Friend exhibit explores the Babe's life outside of baseball and focuses on his relationships with his wife, daughters, and friends. Playing the Babe features exhibits about the many actors who have played the Babe in movies and on television. The Ruthian Record explores the many records set by the Babe as a slugger, pitcher, and even school-age catcher. And finally, The Historic House recreates as realistically as possible the upstairs bedroom where the Babe was born.
Updated Jun 28, 2012
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