Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels

Specialty Museum · Museum
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Learn about the maritime history and culture of the bay at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Through interactive exhibits and educational programs, this living museum tells the stories of the people who have made their home in Chesapeake Bay. Explore the museum's 7 hectares (18 acres) of waterfront for exhibits like an 1879 lighthouse and a waterman's shanty. Along the way, you'll find Chesapeake people who still work in the bay and are happy to share their stories. The collection of historic Chesapeake Bay boats here includes crabbing skiffs, workboats, and log canoes. In the working boatyard, you can watch boats being made and learn about the restoration process of traditional boats from a shipwright. Using our custom trip planner, St. Michaels attractions like Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,055 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • History! Wow! I loved our trip down history lane! It’s true… the older you get, the more you learn and live! Thank you for a great day walking and learning about St Michael’s maritime! 
    History! Wow! I loved our trip down history lane! It’s true… the older you get, the more you learn and live! Thank you for a great day walking and learning about St Michael’s maritime!  more »
  • This was a very nice find in St. Michaels. There was lots to see, and a lot that you could learn about boating, the wildlife, and the bay. 
    This was a very nice find in St. Michaels. There was lots to see, and a lot that you could learn about boating, the wildlife, and the bay.  more »
  • Children had a great time climbing all over the exhibits. Worth the time and price. The educational component was easily accessable to sinal l small kids under 9. 
    Children had a great time climbing all over the exhibits. Worth the time and price. The educational component was easily accessable to sinal l small kids under 9.  more »
Google
  • Great museum for adults and kids. Lots of outdoor exhibits, so a good place to go right now. They are building a replica of the Maryland Dove-big wooden boat that is really interesting to watch. We all loved climbing up the lighthouse and going out on the Miles River on the Winnie Estelle. Gift shop was nice too.
  • This is the best maritime museum I have visited. It focuses on the Chesapeake Bay, including the boats, technology and people who are on the Bay. There are now a number of fully restored boats relation to crab and oyster fishing, and the Museum has the capability to build boats from scratch as well as repair boats in the worst condition. There is a former screwpile lighthouse on the grounds and you can climb all the way to the top, but not that you have to be pretty limber to get through one of the passages. The Museum shop has become first rate, with some useful items. There are boat rides on weekends.
  • Our Chesapeake cruise docked inside the maritime museum. Without a doubt this is the best living history museum in the USA. All the pertinent trades are busy building a full scale DOVE. This 40 ton ship was the first to bring settlers to the bay centuries ago. The museum also displays the history of crabbing and oyster fishing. Many sailboats are on display. It is all expertly done. Drive or sail to St. Michael's, MD and be amazed.
  • We spent 3 hours enjoying these very interesting museum buildings, Watching the men chinking the Dove getting it ready for it's March launch. Compairing it to the skeleton of an old boat. The displays in the lighthouse are a great way to image living in it. Learned so much about those oysters we love to eat. The decoys and the intimidating illegal guns. Playing on the bay was so well done. Those big sailboats inside the building. The small boat building shows so well how the people who go out to catch those crabs and fish we love put themselves at the mercy of mother nature. All so well done.
  • The museum is well put together, clean, and nicely organized. Even on a hot day (90+) there was plenty of shade and some places with air conditioning. Despite active construction on a new welcome center, there was plenty to see and do. The interpreters/guides were helpful and knowledgeable. Most of the exhibits were well done, and even those that didn't suit my fancy were still polished. Most notable, however, was the complete lack of reference, acknowledgment, or discussion about enslaved individuals and the culture of black watermen. There is a rich culture and history behind Black culture in the coastal regions involving oysters, crabbing, and fishing as a way of self-sustenance when blacks were still discriminated against and mistreated. The museum mentioned none of this. There was also an extreme bias towards white people in the representation of people in exhibits and photos. One display in particular, labeled "who does the bay belong to?" (or something similar) featured nearly 100 photos of people playing, fishing, and otherwise enjoying the water, no doubt meant to infer that it belongs to everyone. There was not a single non-white person in the photos. The only place where I saw black representation was on a oyster boat, where a crew of nearly entirely black men was captained by a white man. In a post-BLM world this museum is indescribably tone-deaf, and desperately needs an update. Perhaps some of the funds dedicated to the new welcome center would be better spent updating exhibits to show that the Bay truly does belong to EVERYONE.

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