Historic St. Mary's City

Historic St. Mary's City (HSMC) is a museum on the site of Maryland's first capital. Decades of research are the foundation of living history exhibits assembled across the landscape.

  • At water's edge, take in a pristine view that Lord Baltimore would have recognized. Step onboard the Maryland Dove, which evokes the tall ship that carried settlers to the New World.
  • In Town Center, tour a mercantile stocked with (reproduction) items every colonist coveted and visit the forbearer of the modern motel. Help run a printing press and learn why the first printer south of Boston worked in here.
  • Visit the Woodland Indian Hamlet and discover how the Yaocomaco people lived comfortably using only items found in their surroundings.
  • At the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation, it's always 1661. See varieties of plants used 350 years ago for food and medicine and meet the livestock.
  • Tour the first monumental Catholic Church in the English colonies, reconstructed on its original foundation.
  • The St. John's Site Museum offers insights into ways researchers reconstruct the past using historical and archaeological evidence. During the archaeology field season, tour working excavations.

Allow at least four hours for your visit. You will leave with a new appreciation for life on the Chesapeake frontier! In general, the Maryland Dove can be found docked in Historic St. Mary's City from 10am–4pm. The ship is available for viewing Tuesday–Saturday in the spring, Wednesday–Sunday in the summer, and Tuesday–Saturday in the fall. A few times each year Maryland Dove travels away from St. Mary’s City for outreach visits to other ports. Learn more here.

Hiking Trails: Explore the wild side of Historic St. Mary's City, the museum of living history and archaeology on the site of Maryland's first capital. Park at the Visitor Center (18751 Hogaboom Lane), then head south, away from the exhibits. Travel a three-mile trail through 700 acres of woods and fields at the water's edge. Pick up a trail guide at the trailhead. A map and information about area history, flora and fauna, and some of the people who once lived in the area will help you get the most out of your walk. Good for open country, forest, and tidal shoreline birding. No ticket is required and dogs are allowed on leash. Open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset.

Deer Hunting: For further information on regulated deer hunting at the Historic St. Mary's City Cooperative Wildlife Management Area, Click Here

Historic St. Mary's City is one of over 2,000 Blue Star Museums across the nation offering free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families during the summer. The program runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and free visitation is available to any bearer (and up to five family members) of an appropriate military ID (information on acceptable IDs, and more program info, can be found HERE)

St. Mary's College of Maryland shares the grounds of Historic St. Mary's City. Be sure to check out all the great things visitors can do at the College while also seeing Historic St. Mary's City! Learn More

African-American Heritage

When the first permanent English settlement in Maryland was established at St. Mary's City, Mathias de Souza, an indentured servant of African descent, was there at its founding. After serving his indenture, he became a merchant and participated in the Maryland Assembly. A plaque memorializing de Sousa and brief information on early colonial African-American life may be found at Historic St. Mary's City, outdoor living history, and archaeological museum on the site of the original colony.

Religious Heritage

The Brick Chapel of 1667
This Roman Catholic Chapel, originally built in 1667, served as the focal point of the Catholic faith in Maryland until 1704, when the royal governor ordered the building locked and never again to be used for religious purposes. The Jesuits dismantled the building and used its brick to construct a new manor house at St. Inigoes Mission. The chapel is being reconstructed using 17th -century techniques on its original site at Historic St. Mary's City, an outdoor living history museum.

Meeting and Event Facilities

Historic St. Mary's City has many unique and beautiful venues that provide perfect settings and distinctive ambiance for weddings, corporate events, holiday parties, and reunions. Our party tent can be leased and sized to accommodate groups of up to 1,000. *Reconstructed State House of 1676 - This stately structure has baronial fireplaces and leaded glass windows. A broad sweep of lawn overlooks the St. Mary's River. *Margaret Brent Garden & Gazebo - The Victorian-style gazebo and garden are adjacent to the 17th-century Town Center and overlook the river to the west. *The Maryland Dove dock - and waterfront areas are available for receptions. *Farthing's Pub Room - Farthing's Ordinary provides a period venue for small meetings or dining for small parties. *Visitor Center Auditorium - seats 120 people, and has a shallow stage with podium and microphone.

Homeschool Program

A program specially designed for homeschool families, with interpretive discussions, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.

Venue Details

Maximum Event Capacity: 1000

  • Event/Wedding Planning Services
  • Museum Shop
  • Official Designations
  • Outside Catering Allowed
  • Site Rentals
  • Suitable for Outdoor Weddings
  • Water Views

Museums & Historic Sites

Historic St. Mary's City

18751 Hogaboom Lane
St. Mary's City, Maryland 20686

(240) 895-4980

  • Hours:
    Open seasonally March-November. Trails open year-round.
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