A Fresh Take: Anne Arundel County Free School Museum

June 2, 2023

By Riley Hoaglin

The Anne Arundel County Free School is a fascinating historical museum that offers a glimpse into education in the 1700s. Initially, the school served as a boarding school exclusively for boys, but over time, it evolved into a co-educational institution. At its peak, the school had 62 students and counted notable individuals like Johns Hopkins among its alumni. However, after the Civil War, many young men had to leave school to return to work on farms.


When you visit the museum, you’ll find an authentic representation of a 1700s school, in its original building! One intriguing feature that stood out to me was the sand box, which was used as a substitute for paper. Visitors can practice their alphabet in the sand, providing a hands-on experience of how students learned during that era.


The large fireplace in the school is also noteworthy, as it served multiple purposes such as cooking, providing heat, and serving as a source of light. Nowadays, it’s a fun area to explore.


The entire building is arranged to resemble a typical 1700s school. In a back room, a collection of pictures depicting the history of the Free School throughout the years is displayed. Possibly one of my most favorite elements of the school is its collection of old books, some of which date back centuries.


The Anne Arundel County Free School is open to the public on the second Saturday and Sunday of April, May, June, July, and August. However, if you want to schedule a visit for your garden club, homeschool group, or any other gathering, you can do so by calling 410-268-8656. It’s an excellent opportunity for a unique and enjoyable experience. Best of all, admission to the museum is free. Find out more here.