Annapolis Maritime Museum

Annapolis Maritime Museum

The Annapolis Maritime Museum is designed to educate curious visitors of all ages about Annapolis’s rich maritime heritage and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay, particularly the bay’s all-important oyster and its harvesters.

Situated on the waterfront, the Museum provides the perfect setting for visitors to engage in interactive experiences that highlight the oyster and its role in shaping the history and the maritime culture of Annapolis.  Learn how to harvest oysters, climb aboard a locally built workboat, or wade into one of the only public beaches in Annapolis.   Artifacts as well as an 850-gallon oyster tank are on display to give visitors an understanding of the historic maritime culture that has made Annapolis what it is today.  

The Annapolis Maritime Museum educates youth and adults about the Annapolis area's rich maritime heritage and the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay through programs, exhibits and community events. They accomplish this mission through an engaging suite of hands-on programming and by bringing visitors to their unique location, at the mouth of Back Creek overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

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Hours

Office hours: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Museum hours: Thursday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Docks and park are open daily from sunrise to sunset. 

Fees

Free (donations accepted)

History

The Museum was founded in 1986 as the Eastport Historical Society; in 2000, the scope was expanded to cover all of Annapolis. The Museum campus is the site of the last remaining oyster packing plant in the area, the McNasby's Oyster Packing Company. The McNasby’s building was severely damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. In December 2008 the Museum re-opened the newly restored McNasby’s building and today provides the Annapolis area with a state-of-the-art waterfront educational facility, an exhibition gallery, and an assembly hall that is in daily use for classes, lectures, concerts, and community and business meetings.

When the first English settlers arrived in Annapolis aboard a ship in 1649, they found a pristine Chesapeake Bay with an abundance of seafood and a native American population that had been living from the bounty of the Bay and the land for centuries. After the town of Annapolis was founded in 1695, it became an important port for shipping barrels of tobacco to England. Sailing ships returned from across the Atlantic Ocean and up the Bay to Annapolis Harbor with an amazing assortment of goods for sale. Some ships also brought slaves, like the one in 1767 that brought a man from Africa named Kunta Kinte. The history of Annapolis cannot be told without telling the stories of the Chesapeake Bay. Our ancestors came here by water. We are here, most of us, because of the water. The Annapolis Maritime Museum is telling the story of our connection to the water.

Activities

  • concerts
  • oyster roasts
  • tours
  • rotating art exhibits
  • education programs

Facilities

The Barge House, featuring the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse Interpretive Center, and the newly restored McNasby Oyster Company building feature a variety of exhibitions, special events and educational programs.

Cap'n Herbie Sadler Waterman's Park on the shore of Back Creek features three traditional wooden workboats with interpretive wayside panels, a small beach that's ideal for launching your own canoe or kayak, piers for crabbing and fishing (bring your own gear), picnic tables (take-out restaurants and cafes are just a few blocks away), and watching the boats go by.

Main image: Annapolis Maritime Museum
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