The Maryland Center for History and Culture collections include more than 350,000 objects and 7 million books and documents, ranging from pre-settlement to the present day and representing virtually every aspect of Maryland history and life.
As the oldest continuously operating cultural institution in the state, the museum houses a significant collection of Maryland cultural artifacts. Our permanent collection boasts some of the most significant artists and makers of fine and decorative arts, as well as material culture representing every aspect of Maryland life.
The H. Furlong Baldwin Library maintains an extraordinary collection of materials reflecting the history of Maryland and its people. The library preserves and makes accessible materials divided between the Main Reading Room and the Special Collections.
Main reading room
The Main Reading Room includes books and pamphlets, genealogical materials (published family histories, genealogical manuscripts, and reference resources), journals and magazines, and microfilm.
Special Collections includes rare books and pamphlets, manuscripts, photographs, maps and atlases, oral histories, ephemera, posters, prints and broadsides, sheet music, and architectural drawings.
Please Note: Due to the impacts of COVID-19 we are requiring appointments for all library visits.
Preserve the Baltimore Uprising
The Preserve the Baltimore Uprising archive project began as a digital repository designed to preserve and make accessible original content captured and created by individual community members, grassroots organizations, and witnesses to the protests that followed the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015.
This Omeka-based collection site was built by Denise D. Meringolo, Director of Public History at UMBC. The materials donated are preserved in partnership with the Maryland Center for History and Culture. Visit the site.
collecting in quarantine
Launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Collecting in Quarantine is a Maryland Center for History and Culture initiative to document the experience of Marylanders living through this unique moment in history. The project includes two calls for materials. Through the Letters from the Homefront initiative we are calling on Marylanders to send their personal stories – written accounts and photographs – of how the pandemic is impacting their lives. Through the Business Unusual initiative, we are asking business employees, owners, customers, passers-by, and neighborhood residents to share photograph how business in Maryland has been anything but usual due to COVID-19. Learn more here.
Maps & Atlases
Take in a bird’s eye view of Maryland with our collection of cartographic materials that date back to 1844. Our collection covers maps, atlases, navigational charts, and geo-spatial data that document the history and evolution of the state over the centuries. Images: Map of Virginia and [sic] Maryland showing English and Indian plantations, 1736, Medium Map Collection; A New and Accurate Map of Baltimore Town (inset), dedicated to Thomas Langton Esquire by G. Gouldsmith Presbury, 1780, M362
Rare Books & Pamphlets
The H. Furlong Baldwin Library’s Rare Book Collection is home to unique titles from the mid-19th century and earlier. The collection includes published research conducted by the founders and early members of the Maryland Historical Society – the predecessor to the Maryland Center for History and Culture – along with the transferred holdings of the Library Company of Baltimore, the city’s first subscription library, which dissolved in 1854. Images: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Almanac, for the Year of our Lord 1795, by Benjamin Banneker, Rare MAY 42 .B21 1795F; Forest Leaves (inset), circa 1849, by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, MP3.H294F
The Maryland Center for History and Culture collection is home to a stunning array of furniture, including 400 pieces of veneered and painted furniture from the early 19th century, the “Golden Age” of Baltimore furniture production. Highly decorative side chairs, sofas, and tables provide a glimpse into old Maryland estates, while office chairs and desks mark pivotal moments in Maryland politics. Other pieces showcase the magnificence of Baltimore makers, including William Camp, Potthast Brothers, and the workbench and accompanying tools used by cabinetmaker Enrico Liberti. Images: Lady’s cabinet dressing table, 1800-1810, attributed to Baltimore cabinet maker William Camp, 1938.7.8; Two painted side chairs (inset), c.1830 and c. 1825, both by unknown makers, 1998.37.1 and BCLM-ME.20295. Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the Furniture Collection.
The voices of the past live on in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library’s collection of more than 650 oral histories that are available for public use. The oral history collection contains interviews, recorded events, speeches, research papers, and other items from 1969 on. Many of the oral histories also contain supplemental materials including tape indexes, interview summaries, newspaper and periodical clippings, ephemera, and photographs. Inset image: Micah Connor interviewing Imam Hassan A. Amin, 2016, Preserve the Baltimore Uprising Archive Intern Oral Histories Collection
Paintings & Miniatures
The Maryland Center for History and Culture permanent collection is home to more than 2,000 paintings and miniatures. Some of the highlights of our vast collection include portraits of Maryland heroes from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, the world’s largest collection of paintings and miniatures by members of the Peale family, portrait paintings by Joshua Johnson–the first professional African American portrait painter in the United States, and Maryland landscapes by Francis Guy, considered one of the most important English artists to come to America in the late 18th century. Images: William Stone, 1774-1775, by Charles Willson Peale, 1973.83.1; Home Sweet Home (inset), 1911, by Edward van Reuth, 1994.101.1. Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the Paintings and Miniatures Collection.