Calvert Marine Museum - image courtest Robert Hall

Calvert Marine Museum

The Calvert Marine Museum brings the maritime history and ecology of Southern Maryland to life through exhibits, programs, lighthouses and boats. Located in Solomons, where the Patuxent River joins the Chesapeake, the museum is a focal point for the many visitors coming to the area.

Exhibits tell the story of the region's fascinating past and present. Fossils from millions of years ago show how a shallow ocean once covered what is now the Chesapeake Bay. Other exhibits depict human life along the Patuxent from the seventeenth-century to the present with over five hundred artifacts and photographs, including a twenty-eight-foot three-log canoe, a tobacco press, and boats from Solomons shipyards.

Fifteen aquariums, from 50 to 3,500 gallons, explore the aquatic life of the Chesapeake estuary, displaying plants and animals from the salty waters of the Bay, and the fresh water of the upper Patuxent River. The museum exhibition building includes three permanent exhibits focusing on these themes: Miocene era fossils, a 13-tank aquarium that shows marine life from the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay, and a maritime collection that includes two lighthouses and a 113-year-old bugeye that takes visitors out on the Patuxent River. The museum also includes an oyster house, small craft shed, and carving shed.

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Hours

Monday - Friday 10 AM to 5 PM, except New Years, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Fees

Adults are $9, Senior Citizens (55 and older) $7, Children (ages 5 to 12) $4, under 5 free. Admission for members is free.

History

Solomons, Maryland, is located where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake. The Patuxent was the stage for several important War of 1812 events.

In June 1814, after a skirmish with Com. Joshua Barney’s US Chesapeake Flotilla, the British blockaded this “mosquito fleet” of gunboats and barges into the Patuxent.

What followed became known as the First Battle and Second Battle of St. Leonard Creek (a major tributary of the Patuxent). The second battle was the war’s largest naval engagement on Maryland waters.

Then, in August 1814, nearly 50 British vessels carrying more than 4,000 troops sailed up the Patuxent River, landed at the town of Benedict, marched overland, defeated the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, and captured Washington, DC.

Calvert Marine Museum features artifacts recovered from a US Chesapeake Flotilla ship and the battles of St. Leonard Creek.

Activities

The museum offers a regular series of events including youth programs, field trips, Elderhostel events, outdoor and indoor concerts, boat building classes, clubs, camps, cruises, an historic WWII re-enactment, an antique boat and engine show, and many family festivals such as Family Discovery Days, Sharkfest, and the Patuxent River Appreciation Days. 

There are public programs and tours daily as well as both museum educators and trained docents onsite to answer questions. Check the website calendar for details, www.calvertmarinemuseum.com

Facilities

  • 29,000 square foot exhibition building with 198 seat auditorium
  • Museum store
  • Permanent and changing exhibits
  • Library and archives
  • Small craft (boat) collection
  • 1883 Drum Point Lighthouse
  • Boat-building skills preservation center
  • J.C. Lore Oyster House
  • Cove Point Lighthouse
  • Patuxent Small Craft Center.
Main image: Calvert Marine Museum - image courtest Robert Hall
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