Museums In and Around Annapolis

March 17, 2024

Our region is rich in history and hosts a vibrant cultural scene, prominently showcased through its museums and historic sites. From maritime heritage to African American history and interactive experiences for children, Annapolis and Anne Arundel County offer a wide range of museums and historic sites to explore. Here’s a brief journey to discover some of the notable museums in and around Annapolis.

In Annapolis

Annapolis Maritime Museum

Located on the two picturesque campuses, the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park stands as a tribute to the city’s deep-rooted maritime heritage. Situated along the shores of Back Creek  this museum offers visitors a captivating insight into Annapolis’s seafaring history through interactive exhibits, educational programs, and events.  THe site is also the home of the beloved skipjack, Wilma Lee , an iconic symbol of life on the Chesapeake Bay.  The12-acre Park Campus is a waterfront gem, housing hiking trails, a public paddle-craft launch and a bustling educational center.

Banneker-Douglass Museum

Dedicated to preserving and promoting African American history and culture, the Banneker-Douglass Museum stands as a beacon of enlightenment and empowerment. Named after Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, two prominent figures in African American history, this museum offers engaging exhibits and educational programs that celebrate the contributions of African Americans to Maryland and beyond.

Chesapeake Children’s Museum

Designed with young explorers in mind, the Chesapeake Children’s Museum provides a dynamic and interactive learning environment for children and families. Through hands-on exhibits and creative activities, this museum inspires curiosity and fosters a deeper understanding of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and maritime heritage.

Historic Annapolis

Historic Annapolis, a long standing steward of Annapolis history hosts several sites and attractions in downtown Annapolis.

Museum of Historic Annapolis

Immerse yourself in the storied past of Annapolis at the Museum of Historic Annapolis. With a collection spanning centuries, this museum offers a comprehensive exploration of the city’s architectural treasures, multi-layered history, and influential residents. From historic homes to guided walking tours, visitors can uncover the layers of Annapolis’s heritage in this captivating museum.


Visit a humble 18th-century dwelling to learn about the lives of the city’s working-class residents. Through guided tours and hands-on activities, uncover stories of tradesmen, servants, and enslaved individuals who called Hogshead home.

Waterfront Warehouse

Delve into Annapolis’ maritime past at this restored waterfront warehouse, which once bustled with activity from the bustling port. Exhibits and interactive displays shed light on the city’s role as a hub of trade and commerce.

William Paca House & Garden

Experience the grandeur of colonial Annapolis at the William Paca House, the former residence of Maryland’s first governor. Wander through beautifully landscaped gardens and tour the lavishly furnished interiors to glimpse aristocratic life in the 18th century.

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.

Hammond-Harwood House Museum

Admire the architectural splendor of this Palladian mansion, considered one of the finest examples of colonial-era design in Annapolis. Immerse yourself in the artistry of its interiors adorned with exquisite woodwork and period furnishings.

Kunta Kinte Alex Haley Memorial

The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial is located at the head of the City Dock in downtown Annapolis.It  commemorates the place of arrival of Alex Haley’s African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, to the New World, as told in the book Roots.

The Memorial includes a sculpture group of a seated Alex Haley reading from a book on his lap to three children of different ethnic backgrounds. It also included. It consists of a granite and bronze 14-foot diameter compass rose and a “Story Wall” with 10 bronze engraved plaques.

USNA Museum

Located in Preble Hall on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, the Museum offers two floors of exhibits about the history of seapower, the development of the U.S. Navy, and the role of the U.S. Naval Academy in producing officers capable of leading America’s sailors and marines.

Southern Anne Arundel

Take a few hours and drive South from Annapolis and experience the rolling hills and engaging heritage sites of “South County”

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 a historic building, this museum showcases the evolution of education in the region, highlighting the story of the first free school in Anne Arundel County.

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 now hosts exhibits and events celebrating the area’s seafaring history.

Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center

Delve into the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, one of America’s most prominent abolitionists, at this museum in Highland Beach. Housed in Douglass’s former summer home, the museum chronicles his remarkable journey from slavery to statesmanship.

Galesville Community Center

Originally a Rosenwald school for African American children, this historic building in Galesville now serves as a hub for community gatherings and cultural events. Its rich history reflects the resilience and spirit of the local residents.

Galesville Heritage Society & Museum

Step inside this charming museum to discover artifacts and photographs that tell the story of Galesville’s past. From its maritime heritage to its African American history, the museum offers insights into the vibrant tapestry of this waterfront village.

Historic London Town and Gardens

Step back to the era at Historic London Town, a picturesque site along the South River. Explore a restored 18th century tavern, reconstructed farm building and lush gardens. As a bonus, the Anne Arundel County Archaeology lab hosts exhibits that offer a glimpse into the life of  Maryland native peoples and early European settlers.

Woodlawn House at SERC

Originally built by William Sellman in 1735, Woodlawn House is located on the campus of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). The house and the land have transformed numerous times over the centuries, as new owners left their marks on the landscape.  Now reopened as a history center, visitors can walk through the first floor of the house and hear stories of the land from Native American settlement through today and you will encounter histories of the enslaved and free people who occupied the land.  You’ll also find hundreds of artifacts unearthed by volunteer scientists with SERC’s Environmental Archaeology Lab. SERC’s  2,650-acre campus serves as a natural laboratory for long-term and cutting-edge ecological research.

North and West Anne Arundel

Hancock’s Resolution

Experience rural life in 19th-century Maryland at Hancock’s Resolution, a beautifully preserved farmhouse in Pasadena. Explore the grounds, participate in living history demonstrations, and gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s agrarian heritage.

Goshen Farm

VIsit the farm located in Cape St. Claire originally encompassing 290 acres in 1663.  Owned by the Anne Arundel County School District, the farm hosts many events which engage students and visitors in historic farming and rural life.

Baldwin Hall

Stop at Severn Crossroads in Millersville, learn more about the evolution of this historic building for 1861 and the reconstructed 1840’s one-room schoolhouse. A library on site provides resources for genealogical research.

Linthicum Walks

Take a leisurely stroll around the gardens and the farmhouse which has evolved from a tobacco farm since the eighteenth century . Volunteers continue to transform the house and grounds into an educational and local arts center.

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.


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.

National Cryptologic Museum

Located near BWI airport, the National Cryptologic Museum invites visitors to unravel the mysteries of cryptology and espionage. Operated by the National Security Agency, this museum showcases the fascinating world of code-breaking and intelligence gathering through engaging exhibits and artifacts

Benson-Hammond House

This 19th-century farmhouse near BWI airport offers a glimpse into rural life in Maryland’s past. With its distinctive architecture and well-preserved interiors, it serves as a time capsule of agricultural heritage.

From maritime history to cultural landmarks, the museums in and around Annapolis offer a diverse array of experiences for visitors of all ages. Whether delving into the city’s seafaring past, exploring African American heritage, or seeing how past generations lived, these museums provide enriching opportunities to learn and discover. Many sites operate on a seasonal basis and some are open by appointment only. Check each website for details.