7 Museums in Baltimore That Aren't Boring
Do you want to get your cultural fill in historic Baltimore without trawling through dry displays? You need to check out our guide to interesting museums in Baltimore!
Baltimore is a city rich in heritage and history. This city of neighborhoods was a major center in the American Civil War, a great port city, a hub of science and engineering. This means that there are many museums and attractions to visit, but of course, some are more interesting than others.
Here at Daring Penguin we have put together a list of seven of the most interesting, interactive, and stimulating museums to peruse during your stay that will interest and excite rather than make everyone yawn and drag their feet. Enjoy!
1. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum
Railroads were an essential part of the history of the U.S.A and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum really bring this story to life. The visually stunning round house contains some of the best examples of locomotives and rolling stock from across the centuries, and you and your family can even climb aboard some of them. As well as the trains themselves, there is also an extensive collection of small items that were involved in the history of the railroads such as pocket watches, dining cart crockery, and other ephemera.
There is also a section of the museum outdoors where, for an extra fee, you can ride on a train. Children are well catered for at this attraction; there is often a selection of Lego that kids can use to make their own railway network. This is one museum that will be fascinating for grown-ups and lots of fun for kids. All aboard!
Have a look at the website to find more about special events and activities for the whole family.
B&O Members - Free
Adults - $18
Seniors (60+) - $16
Children (2-12) - $12
Monday - Saturday 10am - 4 pm
Sunday 11am- 4pm
901 West Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD 21223
2. Geppi's Entertainment Museum
Geppi's Entertainment Museum is an exploration of how toys, comics, cartoon characters, and other entertainment have been shaped by American culture. The museum is laid out chronologically, with the oldest examples of entertainment from the late 1700s. This makes it easy to follow the course of your favorite superheroes, like Spiderman, Batman, and many more.
This is a great place for the whole family as adults can enjoy the nostalgic thrill of revisiting their childhood heroes and kids can be introduced to them for the first time. It is also a good chance to educate young and old alike in the parallels between history and entertainment. Geppi's also features special temporary exhibitions; currently the temporary exhibitions are on comic book artist Frank Cho and artist Will Eisner.
Geppi's is a must if there are any comic book fans in your group, but it will intrigue everybody with its mixture of pop culture and history. It is also one of the best value museums in Baltimore, making it entertaining and affordable.
Closed Mondays: Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day
Senior (55+): $9.00
Student (5-18): $7.00
Child (under 4): free
301 W. Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
3. Baltimore Museum of Industry
The Baltimore Museum of Industry highlights Baltimore as a key city in the Industrial Revolution. The main part of the building is located in the 1865 Platt and Company oyster cannery, and the canning machinery is still on display for you to see today. Other permanent exhibitions include reconstructions of a pharmacy where world-famous Noxzema cream was developed, a garment loft, and a machine shop where factory machinery was replaced and repaired. There is also the Decker gallery, the largest space in the building that sports awesome views over Baltimore's inner harbor.
As well as these fascinating permanent exhibitions, there are also stimulating temporary exhibitions. Currently these include Changing Baltimore, Share Your Voice, which looks at how the decline in the number of manufacturing jobs has led to an increase in civil disobedience in recent years; Not Lost Yet! The Art of Maryland Sign Painters, exploring commercial sign painting in the state; and the very popular Video Game Wizards exhibition that looks at the collaborative process of producing video games and gives you a chance to make your own game.
This is a hands-on, interactive and very well put together museum that brings Baltimore's industrial heritage to life. There are a number of ways to explore the museum such as self- guided tours, guided tours (that include demonstrations of some of the machines), and an iPod tour.
This museum will take all day to explore and is far from boring!
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm
Closed on Mondays
Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Baltimore Museum of Industry
1415 Key Highway
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
4. Maryland Science Center
Hands-on science fun is what the Maryland Science Center is all about. There are numerous exhibitions—some of the stand out ones are the Dinosaur Mysteries, where you can dig for fossils and come face-to-face with a T-Rex, and Newton's Alley, where you can explore physics interactively by taking part in activities like playing a string-less harp! There are many more exciting displays to get involved with.
As well as the main center, plus there is a planetarium that shows a range of films on topics like black holes and the stars in the sky. There are also live science demonstrations that happen throughout the day.
There is also an IMAX theater in the complex that shows a range of documentary films, you do have to pay extra to get to see one of these movies, but if you haven't visited an IMAX screen before, this is a good opportunity. You can also book tickets to the IMAX separately from the Science Center if you want to enjoy a showing on its own.
There is so much to see and do at the Maryland Science Center, children and adults alike will be wowed by the fun and educational aspects of this unique attraction.
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 6pm
Sunday 11am - 5pm
Prices start at:
Children 3-12 years $16.95
Senior 62 years + $19.95
These prices include the Exhibitions Halls, Planetarium and Demo Halls. There are other ticketing options that include one classic IMAX film. There are also discounts for membership and advance booking, please check the link below for further information.
Maryland Science Center
601 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
Science Center Operator: 410-685-2370
24 Hour Information Line: 410-685-5225
5. Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art has a large variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions, spanning contemporary art, to African art, to European Art. At the heart of the museum is The Cone Collection, this private collection has been donated to the museum and contains pieces by Picasso, Degas, and Matisse among others. There is also a range of temporary exhibitions that explore every possible medium and theme.
Entrance to the museum is free, although some of the special exhibitions may have an admission price. During the summer months there is also a sculpture garden where you can enjoy the sun while you gaze upon artworks.
Like any art gallery, there are rules to follow about not touching artworks that can make visiting with a family a challenge, however the museum have provided a number of tips and games to play with kids while you explore the museum. In addition to this, it is worth checking out the events page on the website, as there are a number of free children's events and activities that will make this a memorable and fun experience for all the family. Definitely look at the events section for the grown ups too as there are a number of free tours and events that will interest them.
Wednesday 10am – 5pm
Thursday 10am – 5pm
Friday 10am – 5pm
Saturday 11am – 6pm
Sunday 11am – 6pm
General admission to the BMA is free for everyone. Some special exhibitions and events may incur a charge
10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore
6. National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
Baltimore and Maryland have a unique position in the story of Black Americans; during the American Civil War, the state declared itself loyal to the Union, but slaves were used extensively and union troops were attacked by Confederate sympathizers during the Baltimore Riot of 1861. So it seems fitting that the National Great Blacks in Wax museum was set up by Drs. Joanne and Elmer Martin in 1983 as the first museum of its kind, with wax-works solely of African-Americans and Africans.
As well as wax works of famous athletes and politicians, there is a strong educational focus to the displays. Exhibition topics include the slave trade, entrepreneurs, famous scientists, what we can learn from lynching, and a celebration of many more important African-Americans who have been involved in civil rights, progression of the nation, and more. There are also exhibitions on Africa itself.
This museum is fascinating and the exhibitions are interesting and informative, however, it is worth bearing in mind that the building it is housed in is a bit run down and the museum are looking to move to a new venue soon. Also, the serious and violent nature of some of the historical displays means that this might not be a suitable museum for very young children.
This is one of the most important and interesting museums in Baltimore and well worth a look if you are in the neighborhood.
March 1 - June 30
Tuesday - Saturday - 9am - 6pm
Sunday 12pm - 6pm
July 1 - August 31
Monday - Saturday - 9am - 6pm
Sunday 12pm - 6pm
Tuesday - Saturday - 9am - 6pm
Sunday 12pm - 6pm
October 15 - January 31
Tuesday - Saturday- 9am - 5pm
Sunday 12pm - 5pm
February Black History Month Hours
February 1 - February 29
Monday - Saturday- 9am - 6pm
Sunday 12pm - 6pm
Seniors (55 & older) $14.00
College Students (with ID) $14.00
Mid-Level Students (ages 12-17) $14.00
Children (ages 3-11) $12.00
Children (ages 3 & under) FREE
The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum
1601-03 East North Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21213
7. Historic Ships in Baltimore
Located in Baltimore's picturesque harbor, Historic Ships in Baltimore offers hands on exploration of up to four different ships that were all important for different reasons. There are different price packages for exploring one, two, or four ships. As well as being able to climb aboard, there are also events, cannon firings, and the chance to ask costumed attendants about what life on these ships was like.
The ships are the civil war era USS Constellation, a tall ship complete with full rig, the USCGC Taney, a coast guard ship that became involved in Pearl Harbor, a submarine- USS Torsk, which was one of only ten Tench Class fleet submarines to be deployed in World War II, and light-boat LV116 Chesapeake. There is also an opportunity to explore the lighthouse, admission to which is generally free.
So if you want to explore the harbor-side location, get a taste of the industrial heritage of Baltimore, and have an opportunity to explore some ships, this is the destination for you.
Opening times are variable throughout the year, please click on the link below for further information.
Prices are for admission to one, two, or four ships
Captain (Adult, 21-59)
1 ship- $11.00
4 ships- $18.00
Admiral (Senior, 60+)
Lieutenant (Teen/Student, 15-20 or with Valid Student ID)
4 ships- $16.00
Midshipman (Youth, 6-14)
Children under 5 and Museum Members get free entry.
301 East Pratt Street
We hope you will agree that all of these museums sound exciting and interactive rather than stuffy and boring! Baltimore is a city rich in heritage with a history of industry, enterprise, and artistic talent. These destinations reflect that experience and also show off how Baltimore is pioneering in its use of inventive techniques and methods to make this interesting for you.
So take your whole family and enjoy exploring the fascinating city of Baltimore.
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