Museums and Historic Sites

It’s all about the land and the water! From colonial times up through modern times, through wars—be it the Civil War or the Oyster Wars, our stories will engage, entertain, and perhaps, inspire.

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Colonial History

The area brims with colonial history starting with St. Clement’s Island—Maryland’s birthplace!  Boat out to the island or visit the mainland museum.  Maryland’s  first capital, St. Mary’s City,  is now an outdoor living history museum.  As in every good “city” you’ll find variety. How about heirloom pigs, a tall ship, and a state-of-the-art archeological dig?   A century further up the road the grand lady of 18th-century Maryland awaits your visit. The buildings and landscape of Sotterley Plantation trace the history of its families--both white and black. 

Maritime Heritage.  Military History.

St. Mary’s claims a proud maritime heritage and has four lighthouses to prove it including Piney Point Lighthouse — the oldest lighthouse on the Potomac.  The Piney Point Museum also features historic vessels which once sailed the Bay.  The peninsula’s strategic Bay location has resulted in a rich military history.  Discover  War of 1812 and Civil War stories at our sites and attractions. Explore the area’s proud naval aviation history.  Walk the “flightline”, and learn about the Navy’s aviation mission and “right stuff” test pilots at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

Religious Heritage. African-American Heritage.

America’s cherished freedom of religious toleration was first practiced here in the early colony. And in the early assembly, the first Marylander of African descent voted. Our sites and attractions tell of these early shining moments and the stormy years that followed. Visit the Brick Chapel at Historic St. Mary’s City, a stop on the Religious Freedom National Scenic Byway, and the Old Jail Museum, a Network to Freedom Underground Railroad Site.

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