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.
The Maryland Center for History and Culture collection includes over 800 pieces of jewelry for women and men, including a King Charles I commemorative ring of 1649 worn by a Maryland Catholic in the 17th century, mourning jewelry, and remarkable pieces owned by Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte. Images: Bracelet of braided woven tubes of hair, pendant, and gold clasp from the Bonaparte collection, by an unknown maker, c.1800, xx.5.318; Charles I mourning ring (inset), by an unknown maker, 1649, 1945.61.1. Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the Jewelry Collection.
See Maryland history as it happened in our collection of more than a million photographs, prints, negatives, and slides. Images: Mount Vernon Place from southeast, photograph by Henry Rinn, c.1900, PP71.49, Henry Rinn Collection, PP71; “Sport of Kings” (inset), photograph by Robert Kniesche, undated, PP79.2671, Kniesche Photograph Collection, PP79
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.
Silver, Ceramics, & Glass
Silver, ceramics, pottery, and glass are a graceful mixture of utility and art. At the Maryland Center for History and Culture, this collection illuminates important makers, owners, and industry in Maryland. Images: Majolica glazed fern stand with griffin support, c.1898, made by Edwin Bennett Pottery Company, 1973.112.29; Coffeepot (inset), c.1841, made by Samuel Kirk, 1942.7.4. Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the Silver, Ceramics, and Glass Collection.
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