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Calvert Marine Museum
Phone: 410-326-2042 --
Statement of Purpose:
Located in Solomons, Maryland, near the confluence of the Patuxent River with the Chesapeake Bay, Calvert Marine Museum is ideally situated for the development of its three marine themes:
The Solomons area, which once flourished with shipbuilding and commercial seafood activity, now provides outstanding sporting and recreational Opportunities for visitors. At the nearby Calvert Cliffs, large Miocene fossil deposits lie exposed. Research
and educational opportunities in maritime history, paleontology, and estuarine biology abound, and provide the perfect setting for the environmental and cultural interpretation of the Patuxent River and surrounding region.
- (1) local maritime history,
- (2) the paleontology of Calvert Cliffs, and
- (3) the estuarine life of the tidal Patuxent River and adjacent Chesapeake Bay.
The Calvert Marine Museum is a public, non-profit, educational, regionally oriented museum. Our mission is to collect, preserve, research, and interpret the cultural and natural history of Southern Maryland. We are dedicated to the presentation of our
three themes: regional paleontology, estuarine life of the tidal Patuxent River and adjacent Chesapeake Bay, and maritime history of these waters.
Highlights & Collections:
History of Calvert Marine Museum
The Calvert Marine Museum, established on Solomons Island, Maryland, in 1970 under the aegis of the Calvert County Historical Society, soon outgrew its original facility and was moved to the present nine-acre site in 1975.
The museum site now includes:
With the growth of museum programs, collections, and constituency, the Calvert County Historical Society in 1979 asked that Calvert County designate the museum a separate department of the county government, with a seventeen-member Board of Govemors to
provide oversight. Another important landmark was reached in 1981 when the Calvert Marine Museum met the criteria set by the American Association of Museums and was fully accredited by that organization with subsequent reaccreditation in 1996. In 1984, a
supporting and fundraising organization was incorporated under the name of the Calvert Marine Museum Society.
- (1) the 29,000-square foot Exhibition Building which includes a 198-seat auditorium, museum store, changing exhibits area, learning center, wDiscovery Room, " the three permanent exhibit halls, and offices for the education department;
- (2) the Administration Building (the former Solomons School) which includes the library, archives, exhibit design/preparation, collections storage, as well as administrative and curatorial offices;
- (3) the North Annex building, a two-story former residence which now houses the development and membership of fices, as well as the night watchman's residence;
- (4) a 6,000-square foot boat shed which houses the museum's small craft collection;
- (5) the cottage-style Drum Point Lighthouse, built in 1883 and moved to the museum site in 1975;
- (6) a boatbuilding skills preservation center;
- (7) a woodshop and model making shop; and
- (8) the J. C. Lore Oyster House, six-tenths of a mile south of the main museum site.
Exhibits & Special Events:
History of the Solomons Area
Known in early days as Johnson's, Bournes Island, Somervell's, or Sandy Island, the present Solomons (including the island and adjacent mainland areas) is named after Isaac Solomon of Baltimore who in 1865 purchased the island and established the first
oyster canning plant in the region. Because of the island's excellent deep water harbor and ready access to both the Chesapeake Bay and Patuxent River, a new waterfront community grew quickly. By 1880, the Solomons fishing fleet boasted over five hundred
vessels, nearly all built locally. Captain Thomas Moore owned nearly one hundred vessels, the largest private fleet in the state. After 1890, the growing population of the original island community expanded northward onto the mainland, in an area known
as Avondale or Johnstown. Other nearby communities, notably Dowell and Olivet, also flourished.
Solomons was also noted for its shipbuilding. More bugeyes (large, decked-over sailing canoes, typically built of shaped logs) were built in Solomons than in any other community on the bay. The first framed bugeye, Clyde, was built by Isaac Davis on
Solomons Island in 1877. During the 1930s, the M. M. Davis & Son Shipyard produced many fine wooden yachts that brought international fame to Solomons. The High Tide, for example, owned by Eugene duPont, won nearly every race she entered until she was so
heavily handicapped that duPont refused to race or sell the Davis-built yacht.
Perhaps the best known Solomons-built yacht was the Manitou, built in 1937 for James R. Lowe. She won the Detroit to Mackinac Straits race, and was sailed by former President John F. Kennedy while she was owned by the U. S. Coast Guard. White Cloud, also
built by M. M. Davis & Son, later won this same race. Today, little boatbuilding is done at Solomons. Charter-boat fishing, recreational boating, and tourism are the major activities.
Discoverv Room. A whands-on" Discovery Room for children of all ages (preschool to adult) is located on the lower level of the Exhibition Building. Here the visitor is encouraged to explore the three themes of the museum by touching and doing.
Changing Exhibit Gallery. This gallery features changing and traveling exhibits ranging from displays of photographs and marine paintings to special topical exhibits.
Museum Store. The museum store is located just off the lobby of the Exhibition Building (410-3262750). Offered for sale are locally handcrafted articles, jewelry, prints and watercolors, notepaper, half-models and a variety of other items with nautical
themes. The CMM Press publications are featured in the store, as are various educational publications related to the museum's three marine themes.
Permanent Theme Exhibits
Maritime Patuxent: A River and Its People. This permanent exhibit tells the story of human activity along the Patuxent River from the seventeenth-century colonial period to the present. The exhibit explores a wide range of topics such as river
transportation, trade, shipping, boatbuilding, commercial fishing, military engagements, community life, and recreation. Over five hundred artifacts and photographs are featured, including a twenty-eight-foot three-log canoe, a tobacco prize used to pack
tobacco for shipment, a steam engine, an underwater mine and torpedo from World War II era testing in the river, and a 1956 Cruis-Along power boat built at the M. M. Davis & Son Shipyard in Solomons. Also on display are tools used in the shipbuilding
Boat Basin and Marsh Walk. During weekends in fall and spring, and throughout the summer, museum interpreters demonstrate oyster tonging, crab pot and fishing techniques in the boat basin, and lead nature walks through a living, recreated salt- and
fresh-water marsh. The Patuxent Small Craft Guild and Solomons Island Model Boat Club occasionally demonstrate small craft handling and model boat racing in the basin. A schedule of the races may be obtained by request.
Small Craft Buildinz. This 6,000-square foot building, open toward the boat basin, houses nineteen of the small craft in the museum's collections, ranging in size from a dugout canoe to the forty-five-foot draketail workboat Penguin.
Boatbuilding Skills Preservation Center. Located next to the small craft shed and adjacent to the boat basin, the Patuxent Small Craft Guild operates out of this facility. Here traditional craft such as crab skiffs, log canoes, and punts are built,
sailed, and interpreted. Currently located alongside the center is a 1936 draketail workboat, undergoing restoration.
Drum Point Lighthouse. Drum Point Lighthouse dominates the museum's waterfront. Constructed in 1883 at Drum Point to mark the entrance to the Patuxent River, this screwpile, cottage-type light is one of only three remaining from forty-five that once
served the Chesapeake Bay at the beginning of the twentieth century. Decommissioned in 1962, the lighthouse fell victim to vandals until moved to its present site in 1975. Beautifully restored, complete with furnishings of the early twentieth century, it
has become the waterfront's main attraction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. By guided tour only; schedlle vaties seasonally.
Wm. B. Tennison. Cruises are available aboard the 1899 log-built bugeye Wm. B. Tennison. The Tennison is the oldest certified passenger-carrying vessel on the Chesapeake Bay and is designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. One-hour cruises around Solomons Inner Harbor leave the museum dock at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, May through October. On Saturdays and Sundays in July and August there is an additional cruise at 12:30 p.m. (Fees:
S5.00 adults; S3.00 children 5-12 years, under 5 are free). Special charter cruises are available, May through October, at $150.00 per hour.
Woodcarving and Model Boat Shop. Located near the parking lot is the woodworking shop. Here visitors may look into the exhibit fabdcation shop and see the museum's resident master woodcarver and modd maker at work. The Southem Maryland Shipcarvers' Guild
and the Solomons Island Model Boat Club maintain headquarters in the woodworking shop where their skills are demonstrated to the public. Half models, scale boat models, figureheads, and trailboards are examples of their craft.
J. C. Lore & Sons Oyster House. Located six-tenths of a mile south of the main museum complex on State Route 2, this 1934 seafood packing house has been restored and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It now houses two major exhibits:
"Seasons of Abundance, Seasons of Want: Making a Living from the Waters of the Patuxent, " and "Built to Work: Building Deadrise Workboats in Southern Maryland. " The first presents the history and traditions of the region's commercial finfish, crab,
The Calvert Marine Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Admission & Directions:
There is an admission charge to the Exhibition Building of $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors (55 and over), and $2.00 for children (5-12); children under 5 are free. There is free parking and dock space while visiting the museum.
How to Reach Calvert Marine Museum
Calvert Marine Museum is located on State Route 2 in Solomons, Calvert County, Southem Maryland, twenty miles south of Prince Frederick.
From Washington, D.C. - take State Route 4 east from the Washington Beltway to State Route 2-4 to Solomons.
From Baltimore - take Interstate 397 south from the Baltimore Beltway, then State Route 3 and U.S. Route 301 south to State Route 4, then east to State Route 2-4 to Solomons.
From Richmond - take U.S. Route 301 north into Maryland, then State Route 234 east to State Route 5, south on State Route 5 passing Leonardtown, left on State Route 4 across the Thomas Johnson Bridge (lower Patuxent River Bridge) to State Route 2 at the
east end of the bridge, then right approximately 500 feet to the museum.
Calvert Marine Museum is located on the westem shore of Back Creek north from Solomons Inner Harbor, Patuxent River, two nautical miles from Chesapeake Bay. Museum dock facilities are free to visitors. No overnight stays are permitted.
Check with us at a later date.
Key Personnel: C. Douglass Alves, Jr., Museum Director
Board of Governors
- John W. Williarns, Jr., Chairman,
- Karen H. Abrams, Esrq., J. Emest Bell, Donald L. Brown, Dr. Mark R. Fraser, J. Matthew Gambrill, William B. Glascock 11, Phililp S. Hughes, Jodie Lee Mannelil, Michaei J. Moore, Carey O. Randall, Sherry D. Reid, Carmen Nanre Sanders, John A. Simpson, Jr., John C. Smith, and George C. Tilghman.
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