St. Clement's Island Museum
This nationally-accredited museum shares the story of Maryland's founding and traces the route of the first brave English colonists who sailed across the dangerous Atlantic Ocean in two small wooden ships (the Ark & the Dove), landing on St. Clement's Island in March of 1634. A 13-minute orientation film brings the story to life and includes the other interesting details of the people and events that create 370+ years of island history.
The island is now a Maryland State Park and offers areas to hike, picnic, and bird watch. A 40-foot cross stands as a memorial to the first colonists who sought religious toleration. A replica of an original lighthouse stands at the south end of the island and is often open for tours. Scenic and serene, the island is available by private boat or by taking the museum's seasonal weekend water taxi (runs daily, April through October, call for details).
The museum also offers history of local watermen and the Blackistone Lighthouse. The museum store offers an array of unique gift and souvenir items with discounts for museum members. A large pier is adjacent to the museum and visitors are welcome to tie up and come by boat. The museum grounds offer a Potomac River Dory Boat Exhibit, an authentic one-room schoolhouse c. 1820, and picnic tables on the waterfront for a scenic and relaxing picnic experience. The museum, schoolhouse, and grounds are handicap accessible.
The museum offers many special events and programs throughout the year. Outreach programs and guided tours for students and adults are available by pre-arrangement. 301-769-2222. Admission. Call for details and hours.
Mathias de Sousa, cited as the first individual of African descent to settle in Maryland, was part of the first group of 140 colonists who landed at St. Clements Island in 1634. The little that is known about de Sousa is included in the museum's exhibits, which relate the story of Maryland's founding. The nearby island where de Sousa and other colonists first landed and Maryland was founded, is nearby and can be reached by private boat or by the museum's seasonal water taxi.
In March of 1634, Father Andrew White stepped ashore at St. Clement's Island with the first Maryland colonists. It was there that he celebrated the first Catholic mass in the English speaking colonies. A 40' cross was erected on the island in 1934 to commemorate the mass and to mark Maryland's founding. The island is now a state park and is accessible by private boat or by a seasonal water taxi operated by the St. Clement's Island Museum.