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.
Fashion, like other arts, has deep and varied stories to tell. Clothing represents a moment in time—a maker, a wearer, and the world they occupied. Every garment possesses a history all its own. Fashion is a dialogue between past and present, one of the most powerful tools we have to look at history, with a view to the past as well as the future. Images: Gold silk taffeta ball gown featuring floral motifs, 1868, by an unknown maker, Gift of Sylvia Wallis; Wedding apron (inset), 1724, Mrs. Philip Thomas, née Anne Chew, 1931.5.1.
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
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. Images: Section of Plan, No. 1, Elevation of Plan No. 1, Ground Plan of the Capitol, No. 1, 1792, by Charles Wintersmith, Gift of John Hazlehurst Boneval Latrobe, 1976.88.42; View on the road from Newark to Paterson, New Jersey (inset), 1800, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 19220.127.116.11.21. Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the Works on Paper 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 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