Want to fill up your Maryland itinerary with history, education, and culture? Throw in some of the best museums in Baltimore, MD! Known for its array of cultural institutions, Maryland’s biggest city is full of unique experiences that’ll showcase another side of its urban life.
Baltimore has a rich and exciting heritage. Explore its industrial boom at the Baltimore Museum of Industry and its African-American history at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. A vibrant past has created a melting pot of art and culture, with icons like Edgar Allan Poe and Babe Ruth shaping Baltimore’s identity. Admire the Matisse collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art and explore the innovative works at the American Visionary Art Museum.
Not sure if there’s a cultural hot spot or you in Charm City? Find something to please everyone in your travel group with this complete Baltimore museums guide!
Baltimore Museum of Art
Go on a journey through interesting times and new places at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Its epic collection of 95,000 pieces spans everything from ancient Egyptian jewelry to contemporary sculpture. Diverse in cultures and mediums, there’s something to capture everybody’s imagination at this top-rated Baltimore art museum.
The Baltimore Museum of Art is most famous for its huge collection of artwork from Henri Matisse. You’ll find over 1,200 pieces by the post-impressionist artist, giving you a wonderful look at his journey through styles and mediums. It’s the largest collection of his works on show outside of France.
If you want to combine your creative enrichment with fresh air, head out into the museum’s sculpture gardens. Take a stroll through the tranquil green spaces with a trickling fountain and explore contemporary sculptures from the last 100 years. Colorful shapes and surreal images create a beautiful contrast to the lush surroundings.
Baltimore Museum of Industry
Explore Maryland’s exciting industrial heritage at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Historic artifacts and hands-on exhibits examine the city’s manufacturing industry in the 20th century. It’s a chance to uncover an important part of history, as well as the magic of human innovation and creativity.
Delve into exciting stories from Baltimore’s past. At the Baltimore Museum of Industry, you’ll go on a journey from Baltimore’s beginnings as a port city to the rush of infrastructure during the Industrial Revolution. Step into the 1865 Platt and Company oyster cannery or a 1929 garment loft.
In the communications gallery, watch the world transform from the clicking of a telegram to the ping of a smartphone. Or head to the food gallery and learn how iconic brands started in Baltimore.
On weekends, exhibits at the Baltimore Museum of Industry come to life. Watch live demos of vintage print presses or feel the buzz of the belt in the machine shop.
The Walters Art Museum
Get stuck into the epic global collection at The Walters Art Museum. The diverse collection spans seven millennia, aiming to unite people and art around the world. Explore 36,000 pieces spread across five historic buildings that are pieces of artwork in themselves.
The architecture of The Walters Art Museum is just as diverse as the artwork it houses. Get lost in the dramatic lines of the Palazzo building, modeled after a 17th-century Italian palace. Or admire the geometric simplicity of the brutalist-style Center Street building.
Not only does The Walters Art Museum demonstrate the exciting range of human creativity and expression, but it also houses some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. Whether your poison is Rembrandt, Picasso, or Cezanne, this is your chance to see some of their iconic works.
If you want to get more out of your visit to one of Baltimore’s top tourist attractions, check the events schedule. You can attend talks from artists and experts or get hands-on with classes and workshops.
American Visionary Art Museum
Love art, but finding all these Baltimore art museums a little stuffy? Shake things up at the American Visionary Art Museum in the Federal Hill-Montgomery neighborhood. Thanks to the museum’s focus on outsider art, you’ll get to immerse yourself in unconventional works that’ll inspire you and challenge your thinking.
Explore how people can express themselves when they’re not restrained by artistic rules and expectations. The American Visionary Art Museum showcases self-taught artists who didn’t go down a traditional route of art education. This inclusive approach gives you the chance to see how different people interpret the world. From neurosurgeons to the homeless, you’ll engage perspectives from artists of all ages, abilities, and walks of life.
Step through a sparkling mosaic façade and into a mysterious wonderland. This maze of artistic treasures offers surprises at every turn. As you make your way through the twisting hallways, you’ll find everything from toothpick sculptures to embroidered murals.
Maryland Science Center
Whether your kid is a budding STEM major or you’re a grown-up science geek, there’s fun for the whole family at the Maryland Science Center. Get hands-on with thrilling exhibits that’ll throw you into the incredible world of science. From the tiniest parts of the human body to booming galaxies, you’d never know there was so much magic around us.
At the Maryland Science Center, check out physics phenomena and live demos of chemistry catastrophes. Have a roar-some time in the dinosaur exhibit. You’ll get to meet some full-sized friends and hunt for fossils in the dig pit. Or explore the possibility of new life forms in the Life Beyond Earth exhibit.
If you want to learn more about the world of space, watch live satellite launches, make your own crater, and test the soil on Mars. Escape to the cosmos in the planetarium, where you can watch shows on constellations and the colors of the solar system.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Want to learn more about African-American culture in Maryland? The Reginald F. Lewis Museum will take you on a journey through 400 years of history. Learn about everything from politics to the arts with a diverse collection and exciting exhibits.
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum highlights the battles and achievements of African Americans in Maryland. It’s one of the largest museums on the East Coast focused on preserving the African-American experience.
Learn about fights for social justice and the stories of people who made an impact on history. Throughout the museum, you’ll find over 11,000 artifacts, including objects, documents, paintings, and photographs. Explore harrowing slavery documents, vibrant artwork, and photographs, giving us a snapshot through time.
Bring the experiences and cultures to life with regular music performances, lectures, film screenings, and art workshops. Make sure you stop at the café on your way out for some of the tastiest soul food in the city.
B&O Railroad Museum
Choo choo over to the B&O Railroad Museum to learn more about Baltimore’s locomotive heritage. It’s a must-visit for history buffs, budding engineers, and, of course, train lovers. Trains impacted all parts of life in Baltimore, including travel, art, and literature, making this nostalgic spot a great museum for anyone to visit.
The B&O Railroad Museum is at the site where the First Stone of the railroad and the nation’s first mile of commercial track was laid. It’s a fitting tribute to kickstart your journey through the history of American railroading. Visit iconic pieces of history, like the Roundhouse and Mt. Clare station, throughout the museum.
Lose yourself in the elegant design of the trains in the collection. Witness the engineering journey from chugging steam trains to slick diesel electrics. The B&O Railroad Museum also houses the finest collection of 19th-century American steam locomotives in the United States.
Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
Sports fans will want to take the chance to honor one of the greatest baseball players of all time. The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of Babe Ruth. The famous slugger was born here in 1895, and now, it’s packed with baseball memorabilia.
Inside the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, you’ll find rare artifacts about all things baseball and Babe Ruth. Check out some of the jerseys, bats, and gloves used in his career and footage of him doing what he does best. Or take a deep dive into his personal life and learn more about his relationships with his family and friends.
Admire more of baseball’s elite with a display on the 500 home run club. (Did you know only two other men have achieved this many home runs?)
There are also exhibits exploring the culture and history of American sports, with many other Baltimore sporting legends highlighted.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
Get the party started at the Port Discovery Children’s Museum. Your little ones will have a fantastic time here, touching, playing, and interacting with the fun exhibits on show. But it’s not all fun and games. It’s a fantastic way to immerse them in the world of STEAM subjects and ignite a love for learning.
At the Port Discovery Children’s Museum, your kids can play and experiment while building their motor, social, problem-solving, and creative skills. With sensory-friendly options and exhibits suitable for babies to kids aged ten years old, every child is welcome!
They can play at being adults in make-believe worlds. Cook up a storm in the diner or become a captain of a cargo ship. Join an expedition to 1920s Egypt or become Broadway’s next star at the playhouse. The Wallace and Gromit exhibit will inspire the inventors of the future, while the Wonders of Water exhibit teaches kids about cause and effect.
The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum
The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum is one of the only wax museums in the US dedicated to preserving African American history. Learn about exceptional black Americans who shaped the world of entertainment, politics, and business. Over 150 wax figures live here, and they span an exciting history from ancient Africa to civil rights and all the way to the present day.
Meet life-sized wax works of iconic black Americans, from entrepreneurs to women’s rights warriors. You’ll also get to enrich your Baltimore experience with a whole section dedicated to some of the city’s most important black historical figures.
The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum immerses you in heart-wrenching periods of African American history, with realistic displays exploring slavery, the Civil War, and human rights. Get a sense of the overwhelming fear Africans felt on the Middle Passage with a life-sized replica of a slave ship.
Maryland Center for History and Culture
Want to get a deeper understanding of Maryland and Baltimore during your trip? Spend some time in the Maryland Center for History and Culture. Located in the Bromo Arts District in the heart of Downtown Baltimore, this institution is full of objects showing off the diversity of Maryland’s heritage and has a huge library of books and manuscripts. If you want to get under the skin of the Free State, this is one of the best museums in Baltimore.
You’ll find over 350,000 objects at the Maryland Center for History and Culture, dating from pre-settlement times to today. Fascinating exhibits engage all your senses, from recorded conversations with civil rights leaders to a historic Maryland diorama room.
Whatever your interests, a visit to the Maryland Center for History and Culture will help you find a new affinity with Maryland. Delve into artwork from the Peale family and B. Henry Latrobe, explore four centuries of garments in the fashion archive, and admire Native American artifacts from 5,000 BC.
Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
Literature lovers will have a wonderful time at the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum. It’s a chance to revel in the works and life of a literary icon. Explore the quaint home where Edgar Allan Poe once lived while he wrote some of his most famous prose. Exciting exhibits give you a glimpse into his childhood, personal life, and rise to fame.
Take a step into 3 Amity Street and wander the preserved halls where Father of the Modern Short Story once stood. The house is now a National Historic Landmark, but back in 1941, it was up for demolition and had to be saved. Diehard fans can also visit his grave a few blocks away at Westminster Hall burial ground.
Throughout the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, you’ll find many objects from his life and the time he spent in Baltimore. Throw yourself into his writing with letters and original manuscripts.