Hidden Gems In And Around Annapolis

April 22, 2024

Our area is so rich in history that our roster of historic sites includes notable smaller attractions that can best be described as “Hidden Gems.” Annapolis and Anne Arundel County offer a wide range of sites the whole family will want to explore. Here’s a brief overview of small, “off-the-beaten-track” locations you won’t want to miss!

Small Sites Open with Regular Hours (Weekend Only) “In Season” (April to October)

Annearrundell County Free School Museum

Step back in time and learn about the legacy of education in Annapolis at the Annearrundell County Free School Museum. Housed in the original schoolhouse from 1723, this museum showcases the evolution of education in the region, highlighting the story of the first free school in Anne Arundel County. 

The Benson-Hammond House

The Benson-Hammond House on Aviation Boulevard is maintained by the Anne Arrundel Historical Society. The rooms of the Benson-Hammond House display antique furniture, textiles of the Victorian era, and rotating exhibits that offer a glimpse into rural life in Maryland’s past and serve as a time capsule of local agricultural heritage.

Captain Avery Museum

Nestled along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Shady Side, the Captain Avery Museum preserves the maritime legacy of the region. In the 20th century, it became the clubhouse for a Jewish summer colony when the prevailing bigotry denied them access to many other bayside beaches.  Today, this quaint cottage hosts exhibits and events celebrating the area’s seafaring history. (Open during events only, please see calendar)

Charles Carroll House

Charles Carroll was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. His Annapolis residence stands as a symbol of the revolutionary ideals which led to the creation of our nation. Tour the elegant Georgian mansion and stroll through its meticulously landscaped gardens to step back into the 18th century. (Regular hours June-October)

Galesville Heritage Society & Museum

Step inside this charming museum to discover artifacts and photographs that tell the story of Galesville’s past. The story begins with Native Americans who hunted and fished the West River and later the Quakers who settled here.  As Galesville’s importance as a port grew and as watermen gathered the bounty of rivers and bay, the town grew. With the coming of steamboats such as the Emma Giles, businesses thrived and watermen, craftsmen, storekeepers, and business people built a vibrant village life centered in churches, schools, and town hall.

Historic Hancock’s Resolution

Historic Hancock’s Resolution in Pasadena offers living history interpretation of a Chesapeake “middling planter’s” tidewater farm, from 1780-1860. More than 26 acres, the grounds include an 1785 farmhouse and a new Visitor Center with exhibits. Explore the grounds, participate in living history demonstrations, and gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s agrarian heritage.

The Historic Village at Herrington Harbour North

The Historic Village at Herrington Harbour North is operated by the Deale Area Historical Society (DAHS). It is a community-based organization that provides access and education about the history of Deale area, with exhibits within a remarkable collective of local vernacular architecture.

The Kuethe Historical & Genealogical Research Center

The Kuethe Historical & Genealogical Research Center holds a vast amount of local historical and genealogical information for researchers.

The Odenton Heritage Society

Take a tour of Odenton and the historic sites that helped shape the town the railroad built.  The local museum houses many artifacts, photographs, and reading materials offering a glimpse of life in Odenton from the mid-1800s to today. Learn about the railroads that helped Odenton blossom into a bustling town. The Society maintains several historical structures, and the museum on the second floor of its Odenton Historical Center houses exhibits that offer a glimpse of life in Odenton from the mid-1800s to today. The OHS Historical Center and Museum is open to the public on the first Sunday of every month from 1PM-4PM and by appointment on other days.

Open By Appointment Or For Events

Historic Baldwin Hall

Stop at Severn Crossroads in Millersville to learn more about the evolution of this historic building, a one-story gable-front structure in the Italianate Carpenter Gothic style, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been an active part of its local community since 1861. The reconstructed 1840’s one-room schoolhouse also on the grounds houses a library with resources for genealogical research.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Annapolis headquarters is worth a visit! In design, construction, and operation, the building reflects CBF’s mission to protect and restore the Bay.

The Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center of Highland Beach

Delve into the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, one of America’s most prominent abolitionists, at this museum in Highland Beach. Housed in the Douglass family’s former summer home, the museum chronicles his remarkable journey from slavery to statesmanship and seeks to identify, document, and preserve the social and cultural histories of the local Community. 

The Galesville Community Center

The Galesville Community Center is located in the historic former Rosenwald School of Galesville, and houses a permanent exhibit. It was built as an elementary school for African American children in 1929 as a one-room school and expanded to a two-room school in 1931 as part of the Julius Rosenwald Program. After the school closed, the building underwent a variety of changes until the Community Center Organization was reorganized in 2003 to preserve and restore it. Today, the building is an active community center, hosting a variety of events, from oral history days to historical exhibits to community gatherings. Its rich history reflects the resilience and spirit of the local residents.  

Historic Goshen Farm & Educational Center

Historic Goshen Farm & Educational Center is open for special events such as twice-annual Open House events for the whole family, please check their website for a schedule. Originally encompassing 290 acres in 1663, the site is now owned by the Anne Arundel County School District. The farm (ca. 1763) and its surrounding property are being restored for the benefit of the community, as a historic and educational center.

Historic Linthicum Walks

Historic Linthicum Walks is a historic home and farm complex that includes a 19th-century frame dwelling, a frame pre-1815 tobacco barn, and a family cemetery. The grounds are open to the public even when the house is not, and have been accredited as an “ArbNet Level 1” arboretum. Tree species include Himalayan and Japanese cedars, magnolias, Chinese and American hollies, and a variety of fruit trees. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Volunteers continue to transform the house and grounds into an educational and local arts center.

Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Research Collection

The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Research Collection is housed at Asbury United Methodist Church in Annapolis, and holdings include books, journals, video media, and oral interview recordings. Please make an appointment to consult their collections.

Ralph J. Bunche Community Center

The Ralph J. Bunche Community Center is a community-based organization with the mission of maintaining, revitalizing, preserving, and restoring this historic school that served the local African American community. It is currently not open to the public but has occasional community events on the grounds.

Rising Sun Inn

Discover the history of this 18th-century tavern in Crownsville, where travelers once sought respite along the Old Annapolis Road. Today, the inn welcomes visitors to explore its historic rooms and learn about the role of taverns in early American society and enjoy its community-focused events.

Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

The iconic Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is located in an offshore location, and is only accessible by an organized boat tour (see information). Built in 1875 and now a National Historic Landmark, Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is the last “intact” lighthouse of its kind left in its original location.

“In The Pipeline:” Not Yet Open

Crownsville Hospital Memorial Park and Patient Cemetery

The Crownsville Hospital Memorial Park and Patient Cemetery are in development and are not currently open to the public except for special events such as the annual “Say My Name” ceremony at the Cemetery. Opportunities to visit the site, when available,  will be announced on our calendar.