In the north-western state of Maryland is the Annapolis Maritime Museum, which is home to the rich maritime heritage around Chesapeake Bay. Through exhibits and community events, the museum strives to educate youth and adults in the beautiful building overlooking the bay. Founded in 1990, in the location of the last remaining oyster packing plant called the McNasby Oyster Company. Within the building it functions as a learning center, an exhibition gallery and an assembly hall used for lectures, classes, concerts, and meetings. The exhibits have over 10, 000 objects on display of various photographs, and archival documents. The Maritime Museum strives to encourage visitors to learn about the story of how Annapolis is connected to the water.

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The maritime history in the areas surrounding Annapolis dates back to 1649, when English settlers first arrived in Chesapeake Bay. Native Americans had been living in the area for centuries, however the European settlers developed the area with their small boats and began to catch fish and crabs. Becoming an important port 1695, from Annapolis barrels of tobacco, slaves, and an assortment of goods were traded. The port thrived until the Revolutionary War, due to the use of bigger ships; the shallow bay in Annapolis lost most of its business to Baltimore. Yet, throughout the second half of the 1800s to the mid-1900s the bay continued to be profitable because of its oysters. During the Second World War, the nature of Chesapeake Bay switched over to building boats for the British and Russian navies. It is now known as ‘America’s Sailing Capital’ and is the host to many national and international sailing events year round. Now through exhibits the museum is committed to telling the history of how society functioned because of the bay.

The museum uses a variety of displays to provide an educational background on the Chesapeake Bay and the maritime history of Annapolis. Some of the exhibits at the institution include Oyster Eye, Chesapeake Habitats, Miss Lonesome, Art exhibits, and explore the building in the previously McNasby Oyster Company. In Oyster Eye visitors can see all of the different animals that are native to Chesapeake Bay in an 850-gallon aquarium. In Chesapeake Habitats, museumgoers can see the different animals that like in back creek. On the Miss Lonesome boat, visitors can climb aboard the deadrise workboat that was built locally for the purpose of tonging oysters. In the Buchanan Bay Room, there is a Gallery filled with beautiful pieces of art created by local artists and art organizations. All of the art is depicts Chesapeake Bay or Maritime themes, during the year the art shows run from 6-8 week and all paintings are for sale. Within the building housing the museum, the public has the opportunity to learn about how authentic processing equipment was used in the oyster industry. There are a variety of interactive touch screens and displays that teach visitors more about the history behind the facility. The Annapolis Maritime Museum wants to share its knowledge with visitors and during operating hours people can enjoy a free tour by trained docents.

Providing education is one of corner stores of the museum and they have created an Education Center to help students to learn through hands-on programs. Annually, the center has more than 6000 students that are able to explore the environment through outdoor experiences. By stimulating critical thinking skills, the museum hopes that the experiences will help inspire students to think about how to create a sustainable environment in their future. The Maritime Museum also offers field trips, afterschool and family programs, and summer camp as a way for the community to get involved and discover the history of Chesapeake Bay.

The museum has a variety of events that run throughout the year that are open to the public. A few of these programs include the Boatyard Beach Bash, and the Annual Oyster Roast & Sock Burning. Throughout ten weeks of the summer, concerts of different music genres are held at the museum for the community to enjoy. The Annual Oyster Roast & Sock Burning takes place at the beginning of spring, with a tradition that dates back to the 1980s. Winter socks are thrown in a fire to celebrate the beginning of boating season and spring equinox. At this event there is live music, and an oyster-shucking contest, with a variety of activities, exhibits, and food the public is encourage to join and celebrate the ending of winter.

723 I St, Second, MD 21403, Phone: 410-295-0104

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