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, photographs, video, or audio – 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.
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. Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the Paintings and Miniatures Collection.
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. Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the Furniture Collection.
Posters, Prints, & Broadsides
The H. Furlong Baldwin Library has an extensive collection of posters, prints, broadsides, and other works on paper. Our collection features a variety of printing techniques that depict advertising, propaganda, announcements, and other communications. The library’s print collection holds lithographs, etchings, drawings, and other media illustrating Maryland’s historical people, events, and places.
Works on Paper
The Maryland Center for History and Culture is home to more than 8,000 works on paper, including 19th-century drawings and sketchbooks that cover a wide range of Maryland topics. Among them is the largest national collection of Benjamin Henry Latrobe sketchbooks, featuring 343 pages of sketches from 14 books. Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the Works on Paper 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.